205817 Assessment of Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in Older Adults: Summary of Research

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:30 AM

Karen Fortuna, MSW , Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Cynthia Zubritsky, PhD , Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
It is anticipated that the number of individuals older than 65 years old with a psychiatric disorder in the United States will increase drastically in the next 20 years. This population increase will likely create a crisis in geriatric mental health service delivery as the baby boomer population matures. Many efforts have been made to increase the knowledge base of mental disorders in older adults; however, little research has been conducted on Bi-polar Spectrum Disorder (BSD), the less commonly diagnosed mental illness among older adults.

Researchers at The Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research conducted a study in an effort to identify a BSD mental health diagnostic tool specifically designed for older adults as inadequate screening instruments not designed for the older adult population was hypothesized to be related to BSD misdiagnosis. Based on the 13 screening instruments and clinician experience a modified screening tool designed specifically for older adults was developed and piloted with a group of older adult consumers diagnosed with a mood disorder. Frequently and infrequently reported symptoms among older adults diagnosed with BSD identified will be reported on.

Learning Objectives:
Identify different or more prominent symptoms of BSD in older adults compared to the general adult population Understand the barriers and the need for the development of a BSD screening tool specifically designed for older adults

Keywords: Mental Health, Mental Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ms. Fortuna is a project coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Fortuna has three years of experience as a mental health services researcher and two years of counseling experience with older adults and adolescents. Her primary research focus has been on mental health outcomes with older adults. Ms. Fortuna has experience in community organization, research design, evaluation design, both quantitative and qualitative methods, data collection analysis. She has experience in conducting interviews with older adults and facilitating focus groups. Ms. Fortuna was awarded a Mental Health fellowship by the University of California, San Diego to study the assessment of bipolar-disorder in older adults. She has received the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's Mental Health and Aging Certification. Her research interests include the study of affective disorders in older adults and health services needs in individuals with serious mental health disorders.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.