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Psychiatric disorders in African American nursing home residents
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:677-681.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: High prevalence rates of psychiatric illness and high levels of behavioral disturbance have been reported in studies of nursing home residents; however, the populations evaluated have been predominantly Caucasian. The aims of the present study were to identify prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders and behavioral disturbances in a sample of African American nursing home residents. METHODS: The authors evaluated 106 African American nursing home residents, aged 65 and over, from a representative sample of nursing homes. The evaluation included informant interview with nursing home staff, cognitive assessment, and a psychiatric interview that included a physical and neurological examination. Consensus diagnoses were reached by using DSM- III-R criteria. RESULTS: Of the 106 subjects, 90% received at least one primary psychiatric diagnosis, and 71% had at least one behavioral problem; dementia was the most common psychiatric diagnosis (68%). Thirty -one percent of the patients were treated with neuroleptic medication; most of these patients received diagnoses of dementia or schizophrenia. Fifteen percent of the patients had been in physical restraints, which correlated with physical disability. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of psychiatric illness in this sample of African American nursing home residents is similar to that reported in previous studies with predominantly Caucasian populations. Behavioral disturbances, while commonly reported, were somewhat less frequent than reported in previous studies.

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