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Professional carers' knowledge and response to depression among their aged-care clients : the care recipients' perspective
journal contributionposted on 01.05.2008, 00:00 authored by David MellorDavid Mellor, Tanya Davison, M McCabe, K George
Depression is an under-diagnosed disorder among the elderly, even in those who are in receipt of aged-care services. One factor associated with this under diagnosis has been identified as a reluctance amongst the elderly to discuss their mood and emotions with their medical practitioners. The current study focused on why depression is not recognised and acted on by those providing residential or home-based care to older people. We interviewed 15 elderly people residing in high-level or low-level aged-care facilities, and three elderly people who were receiving personal care in their homes. All participants had been identified by their care agencies as depressed. Participants reported their perceptions of their personal carers' knowledge and practices in managing the residents' depression. Although the participants described their carers in positive terms, they were critical of their knowledge and skills in recognising depression, and indicated that the communication between personal carers and care recipients about depressive symptomatology was seriously flawed. Training for personal carers in these areas, and efforts to change organisational culture are recommended.