Changes in mental health care are being driven by the increasingly aging United States population, new diagnostic criteria, and novel healthcare policy initiatives, among other factors.
In an introduction to September/October 2015 issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, James Ellison, MD, MPH, the Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics at Christiana Care Health Systems and Brent Forester, MD, MSc, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and Director of the Geriatric Mood Disorders Research Program at McLean Hospital, write that changes in mental health care are being driven by the increasingly aging United States population, new diagnostic criteria, and novel healthcare policy initiatives, among other factors.
“Both workforce shortages and fiscal pressures have presented obstacles to caring for the behavioral needs of our elderly,” wrote Drs. Ellison and Forester, in the special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, which provides an update on the trends and developments that are leading to new directions in mental healthcare for older patients.
With older adults now making up 13% of the US population, geriatric psychiatry has transformed drastically as a field in recent years. The Affordable Care Act has also affected the field, with the introduction of measures meant to integrate behavioral health treatment into primary care settings in the hopes of increasing the availability and effectiveness of mental healthcare.
Seven papers makes up the special September/October issue of the journal, written by noted experts who discuss these policy changes, new diagnostic classifications, and the latest research behind recent changes in the mental healthcare of the elderly. The topics discussed are: