The availability of psychological services for aged care residents in Australia: A survey of facility staff

Journal article


Stargatt, Jennifer, Bhar, Sunil S., Davison, Tanya Ellen, Pachana, Nancy A., Mitchell, Leander, Koder, Deborah, Hunter, Carol, Doyle, Colleen Joy, Wells, Yvonne and Helmes, Edward 2016. The availability of psychological services for aged care residents in Australia: A survey of facility staff. Australian Psychologist. https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12244
AuthorsStargatt, Jennifer, Bhar, Sunil S., Davison, Tanya Ellen, Pachana, Nancy A., Mitchell, Leander, Koder, Deborah, Hunter, Carol, Doyle, Colleen Joy, Wells, Yvonne and Helmes, Edward
Abstract

Objective: Rates of depression and anxiety are high among older adults in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). This study examined the extent to which psychological services are made available to facility residents in Australia, and investigated barriers to accessing such services. Method: The sample consisted of 90 senior staff from a random sample of RACFs. Participants completed self-report questionnaires regarding their perspectives on the availability of psychological services and potential barriers to access psychological services. Results: Access to psychological services was poor. Psychologists were employed at a rate only one third that of other providers of mental health services. Residents were rarely referred to psychologists or to psychological treatments. The most important barriers to access, as perceived by participants, were the low availability of psychologists specialising in treating older adults, lack of government funding for such access, and limited staff training in detecting depression and anxiety. Conclusion: Access to psychologists and psychological services remains poor in Australian residential aged care settings. Such access may be improved by developing a workforce of clinical geropsychologists, improving funding mechanisms for residents to access psychological services, and addressing staff knowledge about depression and anxiety.

Keywordsaged care; geropsychology; mental health; older adults; residential care; psychological treatment
Year2016
JournalAustralian Psychologist
PublisherAustralian Psychological Society
ISSN0005-0067
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12244
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84992053074
Page range1 - 8
Research GroupSchool of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine
Place of publicationAustralia
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