Objectives: This study aimed to quantify the health and social needs of older male prisoners in the North West of England, to determine whether their needs were being met, and to explore an age cut-off for this group.
Methods: Data were collected by interview and case note review. Areas covered included physical health, mental health, personality disorder, cognitive impairment and social need.
Results: A total of 262 prisoners were included in the study. Over 90% had a physical health disorder, most commonly hypertension and osteoarthritis. A total of 61% had a mental disorder, most commonly major depressive disorder and alcohol misuse disorder. There were few differences within age bands for physical health problem or health/social need, but those aged 50-59 years had more mental disorder, including mental illness, substance misuse disorder and personality disorder.
Conclusions: Older prisoners have a high level of health need and a different profile to the rest of the prison population. Fifty appears to be a useful age over which to define this group, and service provision should reflect this in a national management strategy.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.