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Confronting Barriers to Mental Health in Long Term Care

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When it comes to the mental health of individuals in long-term/post-acute care (LT/PAC) settings, providers play a tremendous role. “All aspects of care and services in a LT/PAC center can contribute to overall well-being, including physical, mental, and social,” says Holly Harmon, senior director of clinical services at the American Health Care Association (AHCA). “Providers are expected to provide necessary care and services to attain or maintain a person’s highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the person’s comprehensive assessment and plan of care.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, mental health encompasses an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines a mental health illness as a condition affecting a person’s thinking, mood, or feeling and may affect a person’s ability to function and relate to others. Research suggests multiple causes of mental health conditions, including genetics, environment, lifestyle, and even basic brain structure.

The elderly make up a significant share of the population with a mental health illness. According to the National Council on Aging, about one in four individuals aged 55 and over experiences a behavioral health disorder, with depression and anxiety disorders among the most common. Conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also present, and while they are less common, they present significant functional impairments in the elderly population. LT/PAC experts say that incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder are increasing as it becomes more recognized.

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Article Source: Provider Magazine | Long Term & Post-Acute Care