Tuesday, 19 August 2003: 09:00-10:30
Chicago Ballrooms VI- X (Sheraton Hotel and Towers)

S024 Squalor: Assessment and Intervention

Filth and rubbish may be unhygienic and cause problems for neighbours. Hoarding is commonly observed as a prominent feature when intervention is demanded because of uncleanliness. Some people are content to live in unclean conditions, and cultures vary in what is considered as acceptable. The aims of this symposium are to consider why some persons live in culturally unacceptable squalor, and what interventions are helpful in such cases. Studies have shown that most people who are referred to health or community services because of perceived neglect of their appearance or home have identifiable mental disorders. Commonest are dementia, substance abuse (particularly alcohol) and schizophrenia. Physical disability, developmental disability and depression may also be factors. Lack of concern about personal appearance or their surroundings may be a feature of frontal lobe abnormalities, and research on this aspect is in progress. Where no mental or brain disorder can be identified, it is often presumed that the self-neglecting person has a personality disorder. Intervening in cases of squalor is commonly problematic. Legal measures may be needed when the person does not recognise that their living conditions are unacceptable for public health reasons or because the squalor is deleterious to neighbours' quality of life. In London, Ontario, a Taskforce met to develop guidelines on how best to intervene in such cases. Journal descriptions from around the world make it clear that referrals of people who live in squalor are relatively frequent, yet coordination of appropriate responses is often difficult to achieve. There has been comparatively little research on squalor and how to deal with it. There is good reason to stimulate discussion and share ideas on how best to respond to referrals.
Chair:Burton Reifler
 S024-001 Squalor: Differential Diagnosis and the Role of the Frontal Lobes
Kiran Rabheru
 S024-002 What We Don't Know: An Agenda for Further Research into Severe Domestic Squalor and Self Neglect
Sube Banerjee
 S024-003 Senile Squalor: One Community's Response
Graham L Pollett
 S024-004 Community Study of People Living in Squalor
Graeme Halliday, Sube Banerjee
 S024-005 Previous Studies of People Who Live in Squalor
John Snowdon

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