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Staff-focused interventions to increase referrals for depression in aged care facilities: a cluster randomized controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2013, 00:00 authored by Tanya Davison, Gery KarantzasGery Karantzas, David MellorDavid Mellor, M McCabe, Dejan Mrkic
Objective:While there is evidence that depression training can improve the knowledge of staff in residential care facilities, there is an absence of research determining whether such training translates into practice change. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of staff training and the introduction of a protocol for routine screening and referral for depression on the numbers of residents detected and referred by care staff for further assessment. Method:A cluster randomized controlled design was used to compare the referral rates for residents in seven facilities randomly allocated into one of three conditions: staff training, staff training plus a screening and referral protocol and wait-list control. Participants were 216 aged care residents (M age = 87 years), who agreed to a 12-month audit of their facility file. Results: Staff training on its own did not increase the rate of referrals for depression; however, staff training plus the screening protocol and referral guidelines did lead to a significant increase in the number of residents who were referred to a medical practitioner for further assessment. However, this increase in care staff referrals did not result in substantial changes in the treatment prescribed for residents. Conclusion Staff training in depression, supplemented with a protocol for routine screening and guidelines on referring residents, can improve pathways to care. However, strategies to overcome barriers to appropriate subsequent treatment of depression are required for staff-focused initiatives to translate into better outcomes for depressed older adults. Methodological limitations of this study are discussed.

History

Journal

Aging & Mental Health

Volume

17

Issue

4

Pagination

449 - 455

Publisher

Routledge

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1360-7863

eISSN

1364-6915

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Taylor & Francis