Article Title

Patterns of service provision in older people's mental health care in Australia


Australia has a population of around 4 million people aged 65 years and over, many of whom are at risk of developing cognitive decline, mental illness, and/or psychological problems associated with physical illnesses. The aim of this study was to describe the pattern of specialised mental healthcare provision (availability, placement capacity, balance of care and diversity) for this age group in urban and rural health districts in Australia. The Description and Evaluation of Services and DirectoriEs for Long Term Care (DESDE-LTC) tool was used in nine urban and two rural health districts of the thirty-one Primary Health Networks across Australia. For the most part service provision was limited to hospital and outpatient care across all study areas. The latter was mainly restricted to health-related outpatient care, and there was a relative lack of social outpatient care. While both acute and non-acute hospital care were available in urban areas, in rural areas hospital care was limited to acute care. Limited access to comprehensive mental health care, and the uniformity in provision across areas in spite of differences in demographic, socioeconomic and health characteristics raises issues of equity in regard to psychogeriatric care in this country. Comparing patterns of mental health service provision across the age span using the same classification method allows for a better understanding of care provision and gap analysis for evidence-informed policy.


Psychogeriatric, Older people’s mental health service, Integrated atlas, DESDE-LTC, Healthcare ecosystem, Health planning

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