Original Research

A clinical profile of inpatient admissions to the psychogeriatric unit at Stikland Hospital

Durk P. Aartsma, Engelina Groenewald, Liezl Koen, Felix Potocnik, Dana J. Niehaus
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 25 | a1344 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v25i0.1344 | © 2019 Engelina Groenewald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 November 2018 | Published: 26 August 2019

About the author(s)

Durk P. Aartsma, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Engelina Groenewald, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Liezl Koen, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Felix Potocnik, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Dana J. Niehaus, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Globally, the number of older people is rising. As a consequence of greater longevity, an increased burden on both medical and mental health care is expected. As a first step towards developing strategies to provide quality mental health care for this growing population, practitioners need to have a thorough understanding of the composition and needs of these patients.

Aim: To profile the inpatient population of a psychogeriatric unit in terms of demographics, diagnostic makeup, average length of stay and selected outcomes.

Setting: This study was conducted at the psychogeriatric unit of Stikland Hospital, Western Cape, South Africa.

Methods: Demographic and clinical data were retrospectively collected from patient files, discharge summaries and an admission database over a 3-year period.

Results: A total of 903 patients were referred to Stikland Hospital during a 3-year period. Of the 498 patients who were admitted, 56 were readmissions. The mean age of patients was 67 years, and more than 57% of patients were female. The majority of patients (97.1%) were admitted as involuntary mental health users. The diagnosis of a cognitive disorder was made in 49.5% of admissions followed by psychotic disorders in 36.9% and mood disorders in 23.2%. The median length of stay was 53 days.

Conclusion: The findings of this study illustrate that mental health services for the elderly in the Western Cape are insufficient, as only patients with severe illness and comorbidity could be admitted. The study emphasises the need for the restructuring of resources and the implementation of strategies, which may decrease the frequency of admissions to inpatient geriatric units.


Keywords

Elderly; Old Age Psychiatry; Geriatric; Psychogeriatric; Dementia; Neurocognitive Disorders; Inpatient

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