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The management of depressed elderly care recipients : family perspectives on the skills of professional carers
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2008, 00:00 authored by David MellorDavid Mellor, Tanya Davison, M McCabe, K George
Recent studies have identified high levels of depression among older people, both those in their own homes and those in residential care. With the world's population ageing, it is timely for health service providers to consider how the escalating population of depressed elderly people will be managed. Although treating general practitioners may be the health professionals most expected to detect, treat, and monitor depression among the elderly, professional carers are well placed to assist in the detection and monitoring of the disorder. This study conducted individual interviews with 15 family members of depressed aged-care recipients to determine their perceptions of the skills and knowledge of depression of professional carers. Family members reported that carers are more likely to avoid than engage with their clients about depressive symptomatology and do not communicate their concerns with managers or general practitioners (GPs). Family members believed that, in general, professional carers were undertrained in these areas. The implications of these findings for health service planning and staff training are discussed.