Considering the increasing use of mental health provision by older adults it is important to assess the efficacy of services that exist as well as identify the particular needs of this client group. This review aims to put psychiatric day hospitals for older adults into a context of current thinking on service provision. It introduces some of the reasons why they were established and the debates that have ensued about their continued use. It summarises existing knowledge about what it is that day hospitals provide and how this compares with social services day care. It also discusses appraisals and efficacy research in psychiatric day hospitals. The review considers some of the alternatives to day hospitals, which are mainly community based or intermediate care. It then discusses the possibility of day hospitals adapting their structure and how they operate. Overall there does seem to be agreement in the literature about the need for standardised evaluative measures for psychiatric day hospitals for older adults as well as guidance on service provision
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