Trends in the utilization of Dutch mental health services by older adults between 1990-2004.

M.A. Veerbeek, Y.J. Pijl, G.A. Driessen, S.C. Vries, A.M. Pot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AIM: Because the Dutch population has a growing number of older people, an increasing burden on mental health services is expected. To facilitate policy making for the future, it is important to know what changes there have been in use of mental health services by elderly in the past. This study investigates changes in the use of mental health services by older adults in the period 1990-2004.

METHODS: Information about the use of mental health services by older adults was retrieved from the Dutch Psychiatric Case Registers. Population size in these register areas and the unit costs of the different mental health services were taken into account.

RESULTS: In total there was an increase in the number of older adults that used mental health services in the period mentioned above. The costs, however, showed a decrease, which was caused by the decrease of expensive inpatient care and the increase of less expensive outpatient care. This was mainly the case until 2002. From this year on the ratio between inpatient and outpatient care stabilized.

CONCLUSION: Deinstitutionalization of mental health care for older adults was shown in the period 1990-2002. This means that expensive inpatient care is partly replaced by less expensive outpatient care. As a consequence more older adults can be treated with no rise in costs. Since 2002 deinstitutionalization came to a halt. Because a growing number of older adults will be using mental health services in the future, new forms of outpatient care should be explored.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalTijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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