Integrating mental health care into residential homes for the elderly is a potentially effective model to address the complex care needs of older chronically mentally ill people. Because no research was available on the implementation of such integrated care in practice, six programs already operating in the Netherlands were analyzed. At the administrative level, three types of cooperative arrangements existed: a psychiatric hospital renting a unit in a residential home for the elderly, a psychiatric hospital stationing mental health professionals in a residential home on a permanent basis, and a residential home employing its own psychiatrically trained staff. At the operational level, contrasting views emerged on the relation-ship between physical and mental health care; these were delivered separately or in integrated form. In either case, the employees trained as elder care workers or as psychiatric nurses had difficulties understanding each other because they held different ideas about good-quality care. These care visions can be characterized as the care-giving approach (care workers) versus the problem-oriented and the rehabilitation approaches (nurses). At the housing level, two models existed: mentally ill patients having apartments in a separate unit (concentrated housing) or located throughout the facility (dispersed housing). The most promising model appears to be the one in which a psychiatric hospital assigns mental health professionals to work in a residential home, where they remain administratively and operationally distinct from the standard residential services. Whether or not the psychiatric residents should be housed in separate units could not be decided based on this study.
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chronic mentally ill;
long-term care facilities
Document Type: Research Article
Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, the Netherlands; and
Utrecht University Medical Center, and Medical Director of the Division Old Age Psychiatry at Altrecht Institute for Mental Health Care, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Publication date: 01 September 2003