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Outcomes for the Mentally Ill in a Program for Older Homeless Persons
Carl Cohen; Hal Onserud; Charlene Monaco
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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The authors thank Eric Roth, Jeanne Teresi, Arlene DeRise, John Poglinco, Yveline Auguste, Douglas Holmes, and Carole Lefkowitz for their assistance. This project was supported by grant 1-H84-MH42443 from the National Institute of Mental Health Community Support Program.

State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn; SUNY HSCB, Box 1203, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11203

Bowery Residents' Committee in New York City

Community Resource Applications in Bronx, New York

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Objective: The study evaluated the success of a generic service program f or older homeless persons in improving the well-being of mentally ill clients. It attempted to identify factors that predicted the number of service encounters and outcome in seven areas, including housing, entitlements, physical and mental health, and sobriety. Methods: All persons newly admitted to the program during a two-and-a-half-year period were asked to participate in structured interviews assessing their physical and mental health and their support networks. Two-thirds of those eligible, or 130, participated in the intake interviews. At three-year follow-up or last contact, outcome was compared for 41 psychiatric clients with psychotic symptoms or self-reported history of psychiatric hospitalizations and 89 clients with no psychiatnic symptoms or previous hospitalizations. Results: Persons with mental illness averaged 2.5 favorable outcomes, and a majority obtained temporary or permanent housing, improved their physical health, and secured entitlements. However, mentally ill clients bad significantly fewer service encounters and favorable outcomes than clients who were not mentally ill. Types of presenting problems at intake were the only significant predictors of outcome for mentally ill clients. Conclusions: A generic service program for older homeless persons can successfully improve the well-being of mentally ill clients, although outcomes are less favorable for such clients than for clients who are not mentally ill.

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