INFORMATION about the course of aged persons in a variety of settings is of value in planning for their care and in comparing the effectiveness of protective programs or types of institutions. For this reason the Office of the Consultant on Services for the Aged of the Department of Mental Hygiene, State of New York, as part of its work in the past ten years collected information on the death rate of aged persons in three types of institutions: old age homes, nursing homes, and state hospitals.
Most persons who work with the institutionalized aged recognize that they are, in large part, caring for slowly dying patients. The question is often raised about the aims and goals of such service: Are we attempting to prolong a terminal state? Are we contributing to longevity? Who of these declining can emotionally or psychologically benefit from special programs?