The literature on older inmates' health is fragmented and insufficiently developed. In this integrative review, 21 research articles on health and older inmates were identified, critiqued, and synthesized to determine: the minimum age criterion most commonly used; health-related variables explored; health status; the health impact of incarceration; and aging-specific policies, programs, and facilities. Age 50 and older was used most often. The top three health variables were psychiatric conditions, physical illnesses, and substance abuse. Self-reports of health status varied across studies; however, inmates consistently reported health declines since incarceration. Older inmates' health needs appear often to be left unmet. Nursing investigations are needed leading to practice innovations to enhance prisoners' self-management to reduce disease burden and fiscal and societal costs.
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