Research Article

An evaluation of the multidisciplinary approach to psychiatric diagnosis in elderly people.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 27 March 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:821
  1. G Collighan,
  2. A Macdonald,
  3. J Herzberg,
  4. M Philpot,
  5. J Lindesay
  1. United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine the accuracy of psychiatric diagnoses made by two community psychogeriatric teams operating a multidisciplinary assessment procedure. DESIGN--Comparison of team diagnosis with independent formal assessment and consensus diagnosis by research psychiatrists. SETTING--Two community psychogeriatric teams with similar operational policies in an inner London health district. SUBJECTS--100 people aged 65-90 (70 women) newly referred to the teams. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Concordance between team and research diagnoses. RESULTS--Agreement between team and research diagnoses ranged from 90% to 99% for the specific psychiatric disorders studied. There was no significant difference between medical and non-medical team members in their diagnostic performance compared with the research psychiatrists. Increased diagnostic accuracy by team members was associated with longer experience of team working, regardless of the team members' professional background. CONCLUSIONS--The multidisciplinary approach to the assessment of referrals to these community teams for the elderly is not associated with misdiagnosis of psychiatric disorder.