Elderly care homes call for specialist psychiatric support

The umbrella organisation of private residential care centres in Flanders, Vlozo, is asking the next Flemish government for more resources to build specialised psychiatric wards for the elderly. 

Almost one in five residents of residential care centres is struggling with mental vulnerability, according to a survey by Odisee University College, VRT reported on Tuesday morning.

The survey was conducted at 24 residential care centres with a total of more than 3,000 residents, of whom 18 per cent have a psychiatric diagnosis. 10 per cent of those also have dementia.

Nearly half of those with a psychiatric diagnosis have depressive mood disorders. Substance or alcohol addiction, schizophrenia, impulse and behavioural disorders and anxiety disorders also occur.

Complex psychiatric needs

“These residents need a stable living environment that supports them when their health threatens to destabilise,” said Johan Staes, CEO of Vlozo. 

“With the reduction of mental health beds and shortages of medical and care staff in psychiatric hospitals, there is increasing pressure to admit older people with complex psychiatric needs into residential care centres. But geriatric psychiatry is not part of the standard range of services in residential care centres. GPs and staff are inadequately trained in it.”

Vlozo is asking the next Flemish government for more resources to develop specialised geriatric psychiatric wards, a framework for psychiatric outreach care in residential care centres, and more cooperation between specialised psychiatric centres and residential care centres. 


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO PRESS ASSOCIATION

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