Service universitaire de psychiatrie de l’adulte et du sujet âgé, Centre ressource régionale de psychiatrie du sujet âgé d’Ile de France, Hôpitaux universitaires Paris-Ouest, APHP, Hôpital Corentin Celton, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Telemedicine has recently been developed in response to epidemiological, demographical and economical problems in the French Health care system. Telepsychiatry appears to be a suitable tool, but few studies have evaluated its applicability and acceptability when applied to the elderly. The use of such a tool is interesting because elderly people have many psychiatric disorders, but encounter many difficulties to access health care. Studies performed in health care facilities generally report patients and caregivers satisfaction with teleconsultations and suitability for demented patients. However, these studies present some limits: they often focus on only qualitative data, the samples are small and they don’t necessarily assess their effectiveness. Nevertheless they show that most of the evaluation tests can be performed by teleconsultation in older subjects with some adaptations. Therefore it appears that telegerontopsychiatry could be a reliable and acceptable alternative to improve the psychiatric care for older subjects, although not an adequate substitute to traditional consultation with a psychiatrist.