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Care for older forensic mental health patients: A consensus guidance document

Tomlin, Jack; Walker, Kate; Yates, Jen; Dening, Tom; Goethals, Kris; Völlm, Birgit; Griffiths, Chris

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Jack Tomlin

Assistant Professor in Mental Health

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Clinical Professor in Dementia Research

Kris Goethals

Birgit Völlm

Chris Griffiths


It is important to investigate the needs, experiences, and outcomes of older forensic mental health inpatients. In this consensus document, we offer practitioners working with older forensic inpatients recommendations to meet the unique older-age-related needs of this group.

We report on the findings of a scoping review of service provision and age-responsive interventions for this population. We complement this with a review of qualitative studies investigating staff and patient views on age-responsive inpatient care.

The guidance synthesizes this evidence into sections on: epidemiological studies of demographic, clinical, and legal profiles; qualitative studies; investigations of patient need; evidence for interventions tailored to this patient group; future directions for research; and finally, recommendations for practice. Forensic patients over the age of 50 years have a different set of psychological and physical health needs from their peers. There is a dearth of dedicated interventions and support to assist patients through secure services and into the community.

We suggest service providers involve older patients in treatment and service organization decisions, adapt interventions to be responsive to this group, train staff to recognize physical vulnerabilities and cognitive decline, and embrace methods of communication developed in other areas of care, such as dementia Care.


Tomlin, J., Walker, K., Yates, J., Dening, T., Goethals, K., Völlm, B., & Griffiths, C. (2023). Care for older forensic mental health patients: A consensus guidance document. European Psychiatry, 66(1), Article e44.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Jun 6, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2023
Journal European Psychiatry
Electronic ISSN 1778-3585
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 66
Issue 1
Article Number e44
Keywords consensus guidance, gerontology, older patients, Forensic mental health, forensic psychiatry
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