Feasibility and effectiveness of telepsychiatry services for chinese immigrants in a nursing home

Telemed J E Health. 2009 May;15(4):336-41. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2008.0138.


This study investigates the feasibility and effectiveness of providing telepsychiatry services to Chinese immigrants in a nursing home. The psychiatrist interviewed patients face-to-face for the initial consultation, and encouraged them to participate in this study to receive telepsychiatry-based follow-up visits. The feasibility and outcomes of telepsychiatry visits and satisfaction of the subjects, their families, and the nursing home staff were assessed. Nine monolingual Chinese immigrants, 8 women and 1 man, ranging from 54 to 88 years of age, were enrolled. The main reasons for psychiatric consultation were mood and behavioral problems. Eight of the 9 (88.9%) subjects participated in videoconference follow-up visits, and 1 subject (11.1%) declined. Among the 8 subjects, 6 were referred for psychiatric intervention, 1 for differential diagnosis, and 1 for suicide assessment. At the end of the study, all 6 subjects referred for intervention had greatly improved; the subjects, their families, and the nursing staff were highly satisfied with the telepsychiatry service. It is feasible to provide psychiatry consultations to ethnic immigrants in a nursing home despite the fact that many of them are unfamiliar with the technology and suffer from dementia and psychotic symptoms. Telepsychiatry provides an efficient way for ethnic elders in nursing homes to connect with mental health professionals with the appropriate language and cultural background, regardless of location. Telepsychiatry may decrease the disparities in treatment of mental illnesses among ethnic immigrants in nursing homes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / ethnology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Telemedicine*
  • United States