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Age Ageing. 1984 Sep;13(5):257-65.

Psychiatric illness in residential homes for the elderly: a survey in one London borough.


The mental state, demographic details, dependency level and presence of problem behaviours have been recorded for 438 (82%) of the residents of the 12 Part III homes, managed by the London Borough of Camden, using standard interview. One third of the residents were suffering from severe dementia, another third from mild to moderate dementia and one third were free of dementia. Of the latter two groups, 38% were depressed. The prevalence rate of dementia increased with the age of the resident and was higher among females. Depression was associated with the presence of visual handicap and incontinence, and was commoner when the resident had been admitted from his own home or belonged to a minority religion. A third of residents needed daily help with dressing and use of the lavatory, one quarter were incontinent each day. Depression and dementia both were associated with increased rates of dependency and of problem behaviours (incontinence, wandering, aggression). This survey has revealed evidence of sufficient psychiatric morbidity in these homes to support a re-appraisal of their current aims, staffing and health-care provision.

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