Psychiatric Emergency Consultations to Elderly Patients in a Canadian General Hospital
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The authors compared the demographic and clinical characteristics and treatment recommendations for elderly (greater than or equal to 60 years) and younger patients (17 to 59 years) seen for an emergency psychiatric consultation in a teaching general hospital. Findings revealed 11 distinctive characteristics that differentiated elderly from younger patients. Most notably, the elderly experienced their chief complaint for a longer time before referral to the emergency room by their primary care physician and had higher prevalence of affective disorders and psychologic factors affecting physical condition. Some of the implications of these results are discussed with the view to planning psychiatric services for the elderly and education programs.
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