The experiences of older adults with a diagnosed functional mental illness, their carers and healthcare professionals in relation to mental health service delivery: An integrative review

Julia Wells, Catriona Kennedy, Heather Bain, Siew Hwa Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To analyse the experiences of older people with a diagnosed functional mental illness and their carers in relation to mental health service delivery and analyse the experiences of health and social care professionals who care for and treat older people who have a diagnosed functional mental illness. Background: The prevalence of functional mental illness in older adults is notable but to date has received less research attention than dementia. Older adults with functional mental illness have life expectancy of up to 20 years less than the rest of the population. Therefore, the experiences of older adults with functional mental illness, their carers and healthcare professionals, in relation to mental health services, need further exploration. Design: Integrative literature review. Methods: A five-stage process was informed by Whittemore and Knafl. MeSH was used. Keyword searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, EMBASE and AMED were conducted between January 2000–October 2017. Titles were screened, and data were extracted manually and analysed using narrative synthesis. The PRISMA checklist was used. Results: A total of 342 articles were deemed potentially relevant to this review. Once inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, 28 articles were included. The literature presented an overarching theme “determinants influencing older people with functional mental illness use of services.” The overarching theme is supported by two main themes: inevitable consequences of ageing and variations of the availability of healthcare services for older people with functional mental illness. Conclusion: Several determinants influence use of services by older people with functional mental illness. Older people with functional mental illness often perceived they did not have a mental health need. Within the literature, there was little acknowledgement of the experiences of older people with functional mental illness regarding their support needs. Relevance to clinical practice: This integrative review has highlighted that some older people with functional mental illness do not seek mental health support because they believe that functional mental illness is an inevitable consequence of ageing; this is mirrored at times by healthcare professionals and carers. In addition to this finding, different views prevail regarding the impact that ageless and age-defined mental health service delivery models have on the needs of older people with functional mental illness. Further research is required to understand these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-52
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume29
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • carers/families
  • functional mental illness
  • healthcare professionals
  • mental health services
  • mental illness
  • older adults
  • severe mental illness

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