The Admission of Aged Psychiatric Patients to Institutions.
It has recently been pointed out (Lewis, 1946) that between the years 1907 and 1937 the number of first-attack admissions of patients of 65 years and over, into the mental hospitals of England and Wales, differs considerably from analogous American figures. In Britain, using statistics supplied by the Board of Control for England and Wales, there was a marked tendency for the incidence of this group to decline, whereas in America, using statistics from New York Mental Hospitals Board, there was a marked increase. An explanation is found in the assumption that in England large numbers of cases which would be relevant to the statistics, were looked after in other institutions or at home, whereas in America less alternative accommodation was provided. It is doubtful, had the investigation been continued up to the present date, if the statistical divergence would have been found to continue. The incidence of first-attack admissions of those over 65 has, of course, a more subtle significance than a simple admission-rate for an age-group, or even a first-admission-rate, but the present impression in British Mental Hospitals is that admission of old persons—even first-attack admissions—has increased, especially during the war years. Post (1942) demonstrated this rising incidence of aged patients by analysing the admissions to Edinburgh Royal Mental Hospital from 1904 to 1942.