Michael Duffy, Ph.D., ABPP
Counseling Psychology Program
Texas A & M University
As in most fields, the development of basic knowledge precedes and is in turn enhanced by practice informed by research and lived experience. Likewise, earlier stages in the development of gerontology were focused on synthesizing and teaching research findings about older adults. As with the genesis of any new specialized field, there has been a gradual application of this knowledge into services for older adults.
Psychological services for older adults in long term care facilities are increasingly needed as the older (and especially the old-old (85+)) segment of our population has grown dramatically. Both long term health care providers and federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have become increasingly aware of the mental health and psychiatric dimensions in chronic health care. Increasingly, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become the new psychiatric residential settings for older adults, as both private and public psychiatric hospital care has decreased in recent years, even now only minimally available for those with acute symptomatology and chronic mental disorders.
Fortunately, over the last ten years there has been a gradual and increasing momentum in the development and delivery of psychological services to older adults in long term care settings- both nursing homes and private residences. The new field of Clinical Geropsychology is now recognized by the American Psychological Association as a Proficiency in Professional Psychology. Increasing numbers of psychologists, clinical, counseling, family and neuropsychologists, are providing services in nursing homes. A major impetus was the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 which provides reimbursement to psychologists for providing psychological services under Medicare.
Within clinical geropsychology the initial development and area of practice was in psychological assessment methods for older adults, especially in the cognitive domain. Now there is rapid progress in developing resources and methods for providing psychotherapy for older adults in residential long term care. This is supported increasingly by evidence based practice research. What follows is a set of resources that capture the state of the art in psychological services to older adults and especially to those in long term care. These materials cover individual, family and organizational interventions as well as psychological and Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 of older adults in long term care. The problems encountered reflect the full range of symptomatic (DSM Axis I) and personality (DSM Axis II) areas including dementia diagnosis and management. This resource guide offers a series of books, book chapters and journal articles which collectively address this range of issues.
Please link here for the complete resource guide.
Psychological Services in Long Term Care Resource Guide