How to improve the Organisation of Mental healthcare for older adults in Belgium?

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KCE Reports 301 (2018)

Children and adults have their specific networks for mental healthcare but what about elderly people? Is it necessary to organise their care in a separate network or can it be integrated into the “adult” healthcare system? To this question we have responded that the chronological age should not be a decisive criterion, because some “elderly” people are in top shape, active and independent, while others are very fragile and dependent. Thus the current network of adult care needs to be broadened to include the population’s higher age groups. However, certain mental health problems related to advanced age indeed require specialised knowledge, on the border between psychiatry and geriatric medicine. We thus recommended that specific skills in psychiatry be created for elderly people. Moreover, since the GP is very often the first professional contacted in the event of a health problem, whatever it may be, we believe that his/her role is central in the organisation of care, especially since somatic problems which often coexist must also be taken into account. Finally, we made a case for strengthening interventions in living spaces – whether at home or at a nursing home – and on increased collaboration between all parties involved in aid and care. The key points of these recommendations were promptly integrated in a Joint declarationfrom the federal and federated health ministers for a new mental healthcare policy for elderly persons.

Gudrun BRIAT (NL)
Communication Manager for the KCE
+32 (0)2 287 33 48
+32 (0)475 769 766
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