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Nurses' perceptions of care received by older people with mental health issues in an acute hospital environment

Arnold, Maggie; Mitchell, Theresa


Maggie Arnold

Theresa Mitchell


An increasing number of older people are being diagnosed with a mental health disorder (MHD). Often the MHD is additional to co morbidities that require the person to be admitted to an actue general hospital for care and treatment. Increasingly older people develop MHD during their hospital admission. It is thought that stereotyping and labelling behaviours of older people with MHD by nurses can lead to an inadequately planned patient pathway and mismanagement of an individual. A qualitative methodology using focus grops was used to access the perceptions and views of 14 nurses in one NHS Trust about caring for older people with mental health issues within an acute hospital setting. data analysis revealed eight categories; Workload, assessment, behaviour/violence, communication, dischsrge, environment, stigma and stereotyping. These contributed to three key themes; Mental Health Issues, Training and Education, and Collabrative Working. The findings suggest that communication between professionals and with patients and relatives in the acute general hospital setting need to be improved and that assessment throughout the care pathway is often inadequate. Participants wanted opportunities to improve and update knowledge that would assist them to care for this client group. Shared care environments where general and mental health nurses worked together were perceived to be central to improving the service.


Arnold, M., & Mitchell, T. (2008). Nurses' perceptions of care received by older people with mental health issues in an acute hospital environment. Nursing Older People, 20(10), 28-34

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2008
Journal Nursing Older People
Print ISSN 1472-0795
Publisher RCN Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 10
Pages 28-34
Keywords older people, mental health issues, hospital environment, nurses' perceptions, focus groups

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