COVID-19 and Telehealth in Older Adult Psychiatry- opportunities for now and the Future

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Jul 30. doi: 10.1002/gps.5383. Online ahead of print.


The rapid spread of COVID-19 and the need to curtail the pandemic and ensure public safety whilst also enabling continuity of mental health care provision, has necessitated alternative strategies for service delivery. Telehealth has slowly evolved over the years but COVID-19 has accelerated its availability and highlighted its acceptability and potential use. This paper reviews the use of Telehealth in Older Adult Psychiatry in light of COVID-19 and highlights its limitations and advantages with a specific focus on older people’s mental health. We explore a range of applications with regards to assessment of mental state, cognitive and physical examination as well as applications to capacity assessments, including assessments for involuntary detention. We consider a range of challenges including those related to privacy, confidentiality and technological issues and identify some of the available guidelines and codes of practice. We anticipate that Telehealth will enable improved access to health care and facilitate the delivery of future health service quality improvement strategies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:32729632 | DOI:10.1002/gps.5383