Pattern of psychiatric illnesses among elderly patients receiving treatment in a Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Nigeria
Background : The Geriatric population in Nigeria is increasing in size due to improvements in health care services that have resulted in increased longevity. However relatively few studies have been conducted on the pattern of psychiatric illnesses among the elderly in this environment. More over , with changing demographics, there is a need for more information.
Objective: The objectives of this study were to: (1) examine the sociodemographic and clinical variables of patients who received treatment at the Geriatric clinic of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Benin- City and (2) examine the pattern of
psychogeriatric disorders among them.
Methods: A retrospective case note review of all patients who received treatment at the Geriatric clinic from 1st January , 2012 to 31st December, 2014 was conducted. Data extracted from the case files included biodata, Psychiatric diagnoses, number of prescribed medications, clinic attendance and comorbid medical conditions.
Results: A total of six hundred and fifty (650) patients attended the geriatric clinic during the period under review. Most (67.5%) of them were females and the ages of all patients included in the study ranged between 60-109 years with a mean age of 69.9 years (S.D = + 7.96) and median age of 69 years. Majority (91.2%) were Christians while more than half (54.9%) were employed. Forty-two percent (42.6%) of the patients were of Bini ethnicity. More than half (57.5%) were married while about a third (36.3%) were widowed. Children of subjects constituted the largest percentage (78.2%) of caregivers. The three most common psychiatric illnesses were Depression (41%), Dementia (27%) and Schizophrenia (15%). A large proportion (61.8%) of the patients attended the clinic only once or twice. Almost a third (28%) had a comorbid medical illness with hypertension being the most common medical diagnosis. About half (52%) were placed on only one psychotropic medication.
Conclusion: This study showed that depression was the commonest diagnosis among the elderly subjects reviewed followed by
dementia. Some of these patients had comorbid medical illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. Improving the quality of geriatric services bearing in mind the most prevalent psychiatric and medical disorders in this age group will help in providing adequate care to meet the mental and physical health needs of the elderly population.
Keywords: Elderly, common psychiatric illnesses, Psychogeriatric clinic, Nigeria.