Look for anaemia in elderly with mental health issues

Anaemia may be under-treated in elderly psychiatric patients, according to findings of a small pilot study presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry in Vienna on 14 March. 

The study of 20 individuals over 65 years at a specialist hospital in Norwich, England, for older patients with mental health issues, found that 30% were anaemic when admitted.

However, only one of four patients who met the clinical criteria for treatment had received any intervention.

Meanwhile, tests to determine the cause of the anaemia were infrequent.

The presenter, psychiatrist Dr Julian Beezhold, said the inconsistency could be due to a lack of guidelines for managing anaemia in this population – and said the results raised questions about whether other physical health problems may be overlooked by mental health staff.

EPA 2011: 19th European Congress of Psychiatry: P02-266