Objective: Despite growing numbers of elderly persons with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, little research has been conducted on the manifestation of serious mental illness in later life, and our understanding of the mental health care needs of this population is limited. This study examined length of stay and medication use among women age 50 and older admitted to an acute care state psychiatric facility. Methods: A computerized record search for all women discharged from a large urban state psychiatric facility over a one-year period was undertaken. Demographic and resource utilization data, including total length of stay and pharmacy utilization, were obtained from the hospital database. Results: The database search produced the records of 564 women, with a mean age of 37.5 years. Women constituted 60 percent of patients over age 50. The mean length of stay was 16.1 days for the entire group; for women under age 50 (N=492), mean length of stay was 15 days, and for women age 50 and older (N=72), it was 23.1 days (p=.01). Among those age 50 and older, 58.3 percent had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, compared with only 38 percent of those under age 50. Conclusions: Our data suggest that women constitute the majority of patients over age 50 in a state psychiatric facility and that they have longer stays than younger women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health(social science)
- Health Professions(all)