A model gatekeeper program to find the at-risk elderly

Evelyn R. Florio, Todd H. Rockwood, Michael S. Hendryx, Julie E. Jensen, Raymond Raschko, Dennis G. Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This article describes the client characteristics and services needs of community-dwelling older adults found through a unique case-finding model developed at the Spokane Mental Health Center. The model trains the employees of community businesses and corporations who work with the public to serve as community gatekeepers by identifying and referring community-dwelling older adults who may be in need of aging and/or mental health services. These community case-finders perform a gatekeeping function for elder adults that is similar to that performed by schools and the workplace for younger persons. Information was collected on 777 individuals aged 60 and older referred over an 18-month period (January 1, 1994, to June 30, 1995) to the Spokane Mental Health Clinical Case Management Program in Spokane, Washington, which provides aging and mental health services to older adults residing in the county. Findings indicate that 40% of clients referred were found by community-based gatekeepers. Clients referred by gatekeepers were more frequently socially isolated, economically disadvantaged and less likely to have a physician. Gatekeeper clients were also more likely to be women and to be younger than others referred to the agency. Gatekeeper clients were receiving fewer services at referral and were identified as needing more services at intake. Gatekeepers find a distinct population of community-dwelling older adults who are not found by more traditional referral sources. The need to integrate this model within a comprehensive clinical case management system is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of case management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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