An overview:

The proportion of Canadians who are seniors is expected to increase dramatically. By 2021, older adults - those 65 years of age and older - will account for almost 18 of our country’s population (Statistics Canada, 2005). Currently, 20 of those aged 65 and older are living with a mental illness (MacCourt, 2005). Since virtually no interdisciplinary national guidelines on the prevention, assessment, treatment and management of the major mental health issues facing older Canadians existed, the CCSMH National Guideline Project was created in 2005 (with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Population Health Fund) to develop evidence-based recommendations in the four key areas of senior mental health:

You can download copies of the CCSMH National Guidelines at no charge. You can also download a summary of the guidelines published in the Canadian Journal of Geriatrics, 2006 (volume 9, supplement 2)

 The guidelines were developed following these guiding principles:

  • Evidence-based
  • Broad in scope
  • Reflective of the continuum of settings for care
  • Clear, concise, readable
  • Practical

It was important that all of the National Guidelines:

  • be multidisciplinary in nature
  • focus on older adults
  • include all health care settings across the continuum
  • acknowledge the variation that exists between facilities, agencies, communities, regions and provinces across the country
  • deal explicitly with areas of overlap between the guidelines
  • cross-reference between the four documents as necessary
  • identify gaps in knowledge
  • include research, education and service delivery issues

Target audiences:

There target audiences include: interdisciplinary care teams, health care professionals, administrators, and policy makers whose work focuses on the senior population. In addition, these guidelines are useful in the planning and evaluation of health care service delivery models, human resource plans, accreditation standards, training and education requirements, research needs and funding decisions.