The availability of psychological services for aged care residents in australia: a survey of facility staff

Article


Stargatt, Jennifer, Bhar, Sunil S., Davison, Tanya E., Pachana, Nancy A., Mitchell, Leander, Koder, Deborah, Hunter, Carol, Doyle, Colleen, Wells, Yvonne and Helmes, Edward. 2017. "The availability of psychological services for aged care residents in australia: a survey of facility staff." Australian Psychologist. 52 (6), pp. 406-413. https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12244
Article Title

The availability of psychological services for aged care residents in australia: a survey of facility staff

ERA Journal ID6118
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsStargatt, Jennifer (Author), Bhar, Sunil S. (Author), Davison, Tanya E. (Author), Pachana, Nancy A. (Author), Mitchell, Leander (Author), Koder, Deborah (Author), Hunter, Carol (Author), Doyle, Colleen (Author), Wells, Yvonne (Author) and Helmes, Edward (Author)
Journal TitleAustralian Psychologist
Journal Citation52 (6), pp. 406-413
Number of Pages8
Year2017
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0005-0067
1742-9544
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/ap.12244
Web Address (URL)https://aps.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ap.12244
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; psychological treatment; residential care
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420301. Aged health care
420313. Mental health services
Byline AffiliationsSwinburne University of Technology
Monash University
School of Psychology and Counselling
Department of Health, New South Wales
Carol Hunter Psychology, Australia
Australian Catholic University
La Trobe University
James Cook University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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