Outpatient mental health service use by older adults after acute psychiatric hospitalization

Hong Li, Enola Proctor, Nancy Morrow-Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study described outpatient mental health service used by elderly patients discharged from acute inpatient psychiatric treatment for depression, assessed services barriers, and identified factors related to the use of outpatient mental health services. The sample consisted of 199 elderly patients discharged home from a geropsychiatric unit of an urban midwestem hospital. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with use of various mental health services. Almost three quarters of the elderly patients saw a psychiatrist within 6 weeks postdischarge, but few used other outpatient mental health services. The most frequently reported barriers to use included (1) cost of services, (2) personal belief that depression would improve on its own, and (3) lack of awareness of available services. The use of various outpatient services was differentially related to predisposing, need, and enabling factors. Female patients, those residing in rural areas, and those who wanted to solve their problems on their own were less likely to use outpatient mental health services. Patients who reported greater levels of functional impairment, resided in rural areas, and perceived that getting services required too much time were less likely to see a psychiatrist in the postacute period. African American patients were more likely than whites to use day treatment programs. This may be related to the fact that most day treatment centers were located in areas where the majority of residents were African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-84
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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