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Keywords:

  • mental health services;
  • aged;
  • quality of health care;
  • outcome assessment

Abstract

Information on which older adults attend mental health care and whether they profit from the care they receive is important for policy-makers. To assess this information in daily practice, the “Mental health care Monitor Older adults” (MEMO) was developed in the Netherlands. The aim of this paper is to describe MEMO and the older adults who attend outpatient mental health care regarding their predisposing and enabling characteristics and need for care. In MEMO all patients referred to the division of old age psychiatry of the participating mental health care organisations are assessed at baseline and monitored at 4, 8 and 12-month follow-up. Primary outcomes are mental and social functioning, consumer satisfaction, and type of treatment provided (MEMO Basic). Over the years, MEMO Basic is repeated. In each cycle, additional information on specific patient groups is added (e.g. mood disorders). Data collection is supported by a web-based system for clinicians, including direct feedback to monitor patients throughout treatment. First results at baseline showed that the majority of patients that entered the division of old age psychiatry was female (69%), had low education (83%), lived alone (53%), was depressed (42%) and had a comorbid condition (82%). It seemed that older immigrants were not sufficiently reached. The current study is the first in the Netherlands to evaluate patient characteristics and outcome in mental health care provided for older adults in day-to-day practice. If MEMO works out successfully, the method should be extended to other target groups. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.