Mental health disorders in home care elders: An integrative review

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Home care is the fastest growing U.S. health care sector, serving a predominance of highly vulnerable elderly patients. Mental health disorders (MHDs) are a major health concern in this population, however, current knowledge regarding their occurrence and associated correlates is inadequate. To address this gap, this integrative review examined existing findings regarding the prevalence and correlates of MHDs in home care elders. A search of six electronic databases and a hand search produced a final group of 36 articles for review. Poor data representativeness and methodological limitations impacted the quality of these studies, as reflected in an extremely wide range of prevalence estimates for these disorders (12% – 62%). A number of recommendations are made with respect to future research in this area. These include conducting multi-site investigations and the use of consistent and clear protocols for identification of MHDs in home care elders, a growing and significantly under-served population.

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