BACKGROUND: Evaluations of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) scheme have not yet focused on minority subgroups. This paper aims to evaluate accessibility, waiting times and clinical outcomes of IAPT for older adults.
METHODS: All referrals from six Primary Care Trusts (PCT) in the East of England were used in this analysis. During each session, the therapist recorded information on anxiety symptoms using the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD-7) and depressive symptoms with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Waiting times, type of referrals and reliable recovery rates were investigated.
RESULTS: Older adults accounted for only 4% of all the IAPT referrals made between September 2008 and July 2010 in the Eastern Region. Waiting times for both IAPT assessment and treatment were slightly lower for older adult. In all centres, reliable recovery rates were higher in older adults compared to younger adults post-treatment, however these differences were not significant, with the exception of a difference in anxiety scores (χ(2)(1) = 18.6, p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, being an older adult was associated with recovery for depression (OR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.10-1.53), anxiety (OR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.21-1.66), and overall recovery (OR = 1.31, 95% CI 1.10-1.54) after adjustment for gender, PCT region, baseline score, maximum treatment step during treatment, dropping out, and number of sessions.
CONCLUSIONS: The IAPT services were shown to be beneficial to older patients, however, access to these services in later life has been lower than expected. The service pathway for older populations needs to be better researched in order to eliminate possible obstacles in accessing services.