Health of elderly male prisoners: worse than the general population, worse than younger prisoners.
Fazel S., Hope T., O'Donnell I., Piper M., Jacoby R.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of the health of men aged 60 and over in English and Welsh prisons. METHODS: 203 men were interviewed from 15 prisons, comprising one-fifth of all sentenced men in this age group in England and Wales. Assessment included semi-structured interviews covering chronic and acute health problems, and recording of major illnesses from the medical notes and prison reception health screen. RESULTS: 85% of the elderly prisoners had one or more major illnesses reported in their medical records, and 83% reported at least one chronic illness on interview. The most common illnesses were psychiatric, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and respiratory. CONCLUSION: The rates of illness in elderly prisoners are higher than those reported in other studies of younger prisoners and surveys of the general population of a similar age. The increasing number of elderly people in prison poses specific health challenges for prison health-care services.