Improving Care Provision to Older Adults with Dual Diagnosis: Recommendations from a Mixed-Methods Study

Adam Searby, Phillip Maude, Ian McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Older adults with dual diagnosis remain an under-diagnosed population in mental health services, with complex needs and high rates of medical comorbidity. Dual diagnosis is a significant challenge to contemporary mental health services, with recognition of the increased rate of relapse and costs of care of poorly managed dual diagnosis identified through comprehensive research. Unfortunately, the research attention paid to those with dual diagnosis in younger age groups has not been replicated in the older adult cohort, with few studies specifically exploring the treatment needs of these individuals. Of the studies that do exist, many identify poor screening and assessment, clinician frustration and a lack of cohesive treatment for co-occurring alcohol and other drug use disorders for older adults. We draw from a mixed methods exploratory study conducted in an inner Melbourne community older adult mental health service providing care to consumers with dual diagnosis to formulate recommendations to improve the care provision to this cohort. We discuss changes to the way older adult mental health services operate that are essential to improve the care and response to consumers presenting with dual diagnosis. Ultimately, we aim to discuss how older adult mental health services can improve to provide timely, responsive care to those with dual diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

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