The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England has been working hard to successfully increase access to evidence based psychological interventions across the age spectrum. Yet we also know equal access to these interventions for people over 65 has not yet been fully achieved, although much progress has been made.
Analysis of data from the First Wave Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) sites showed inconsistency in access at that time. Some services then saw no older people at all and on average only 4% of people seen were aged 65 or above. Luckily that situation has improved but there is still much to be done. In 2014/15 7.09% of treatment completers were older adults. Very positively, the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies data, published by the Health and Social Care information Centre shows that in Q4 2014/2015 that those over 65 achieved recovery rates of 58% and consistently across 2014/15 achieved higher recovery rates compared with working age adults. We already know from literature reviews and meta-analysis that CBT for older people has been shown to be effective in clinical trials. These results in routine clinical practice further demonstrate and cement that older people can make use of CBT and other evidence based interventions and need to be supported and encouraged to access them.
Obviously the percentage of older people in a local population will vary but the universal message for IAPT services in England is that older are not accessing IAPT in expected numbers and this must improve further (Chellingsworth, Kishita & Laidlaw, 2016). A new IAPT National Curriculum for high and low intensity CBT has been published in February 2016 (Chellingsworth, Davies & Laidlaw, 2016) and two new Clinician’s to high intensity CBT with older people as resources for the workforce and training providers. There are also a range of video clips for high and low intensity CBT and to illustrate what CBT for older people is like.
This builds on the excellent work Age UK have been doing to promote talking therapies with the IAPT programme with key information and video clips available on the Age UK website.