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Older people with enduring or recurrent severe mental illness (graduates): A literature review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2014

Margo Wrigley
Dept of Old Age Psychiatry, Mater Hospital, 61 Eccles Street, Dublin 7
Bernadette Murphy
St Loman's Hospital, Palmerstown Dublin 20
Martin Farrell
224 North Circular Road, Dublin 7
Brendan Cassidy
Cluain Mhuire Psychiatric Services, Newtownpark Ave, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Jim Ryan
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, Ireland


Objectives: To review the literature on older people with enduring or recurrent severe mental illness with an onset earlier than 65 years (graduates) and, in particular, to look at the specific features and needs of this group.

Method: A Medline literature search produced 41 relevant papers and reports on the subject.

Results: There are a substantial number of older people with severe mental illness and the number will rise in line with increased longevity. As they age these patients' psychiatric disabilities are compounded by medical and social problems. The move to community based care has largely ignored the needs of graduates who were previously cared for in psychiatric institutions.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need to plan and develop adequate services for this vulnerable group.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006

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