Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Aging Mentally Ill

Hello, This is a very important issue to think about if you have a person in your life with Mental Illness that is aging. My siblings and I were faced with this issue when our Mother had a double stroke. She needed to be in a nursing home because caring for her at home would have been to difficult. She was paralyzed from her stroke. It was such a heartbreaking time for me and my siblings. Some of the heart break came from the fact that a lot of nursing homes would not accept her just because she had a diagnosis of Schizophrenia earlier in life, even though later in life she did not show any signs of the disease. Eventually we did find one to take her and luckily they were a good nursing home too. That was an eye opener for me though that the Mentally Ill could be discriminated against in their senior years like that. But even more important, we learned that we needed to have certain paper work in order. So as this article says you should prepare some of these important health care forms, with a guardian if needed, and it will help save some difficulties later in life for them and for you and your family.
Thank you for visiting,
Janet :)

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Mentally Ill in Nursing Homes Often Lack Advance Care Plans

(HealthDay News) -- Nursing home residents with serious mental illnesses are less likely to have advance care directives than those with no mental illness, researchers have found.

An advance care directive enables people to make informed decisions about their future treatment or identify a person who will make health care decisions for them if they become too ill to do so.

U.S. researchers looked at four types of advance care plans among 13,500 residents in 1,174 nursing homes: living wills; do-not-resuscitate orders; do-not-hospitalize orders; and restrictions on feeding tubes, medications or other treatments.

The study found that 68 percent of residents with no mental illness had at least one of the four types of advance care plans, compared to 57 percent of residents with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

The study authors noted that mentally ill people in nursing homes are among the most important groups of patients with whom health providers should work to create advance directives.

"Our findings reflect disparities in medical decision-making caused by such factors as provider bias rather than actual differences in expressed care preferences," wrote the study authors, Dr. Peter Cram, Xueya Cai and Yue Li, who are affiliated with the University of Iowa and with Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The researchers also noted that nursing home care typically focuses on managing chronic medical conditions and functional disabilities. Staff members may not have been trained in mental health issues, they added.

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