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Treatment of depression in low-level residential care facilities for the elderly

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-12-01, 00:00 authored by K George, Tanya Davison, M McCabe, David MellorDavid Mellor, Kathleen Moore
Background: The rate of recognition and treatment of depressed older people in nursing homes is low. Data from the low-level residential care population have not been reported. This study aimed to collect information about the treatment of depression among older persons living in low-level residential care (hostels).

Method: The participants comprised 300 elderly residents from ten low-level residential care facilities from various suburbs in metropolitan Melbourne. The participants were interviewed by a trained clinical psychologist to determine the presence or absence of major or minor depressive disorder using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorder (SCID-I). Each participant was also administered the Standardized Mini-mental State Examination (SMMSE) to determine level of cognitive function. The clinical psychologist then reviewed all cases in consultation with a geropsychiatrist experienced in the diagnosis of depression among older people, prior to assigning a diagnosis of depression.

Results: An important finding in this study was the low treatment for currently depressed residents, with less than half of those in the sample who were depressed receiving treatment. However, 61 of the 96 residents out of the sample of 300 who were on antidepressants were not currently depressed.

Conclusion: There is an under recognition and under treatment of currently depressed older people in low-level residential care facilities (hostels) just as has been reported in studies in nursing homes. However, there are high numbers receiving antidepressants who are not currently depressed.



International psychogeriatrics: the official journal of the International Psychogeriatric Association






1153 - 1160


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, England








Published online by Cambridge University Press 23 Apr 2007

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, International Psychogeriatric Association