BACKGROUND: The International Psychogeriatric Association Task Force on Mental Health Services in Long-Term Care Facilities aims to support and strengthen mental health services in the long-term care sector. The purpose of this paper is to identify broad principles that may underpin the drive towards meeting the mental health needs of residents of long-term care facilities and their families, as well as to enhance the overall delivery of residential care services.
METHODS: Principles of good care are extrapolated from an analysis of international consensus documents and existing guidelines and discussed in relation to the research and practice literature.
RESULTS: Although the attention to principles is limited, this review reveals an emerging consensus that: (1) residential care should be situated within a continuum of services which are accessible on the basis of need; (2) there should be an explicit focus on quality of care in long-term care facilities; and (3) quality of life for the residents of these facilities should be a primary objective. We take a broad perspective on the challenges associated with actualizing each of these principles, taking into consideration key issues for families, facilities, systems and societies.
CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for practice, policy and advocacy to establish an internationally endorsed principles-based framework for the evolution and development of good mental health care within long-term care facilities are provided.
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