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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992 Nov;40(11):1117-22.

Inadequate treatment of depressed nursing home elderly.

Author information

1
Institute for Mental Illness Training and Research, University of Washington.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the prevalence of antidepressant drug treatment among nursing home elderly with major depression.

DESIGN:

Survey early and late in nursing home stay.

SETTING:

Sixty Medicaid/Medicare-certified skilled nursing homes.

PARTICIPANTS:

Admission cohort of 5,752 residents age 65 or older in 1976 through 1983.

MEASURES:

Chart review by nurse-abstractors of physicians' diagnoses, drug used, and alertness rating. Diagnosis of depression equivalent to DSM-III-R major depression.

RESULTS:

Of 868 persons with a diagnosis of depression in the medical record, only 10% were treated with antidepressant drugs. More received neuroleptics and benzodiazepines than received antidepressants, but most (52%) received no psychoactive drug at all. A subset of 258 depressed persons had positive notations in their records supporting a mental status rating of "alert and oriented." Of that subset, only 15% received antidepressants. When followed from admission to discharge or end of study the prevalence rate of antidepressant drug treatment increased by 4%.

CONCLUSIONS:

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, even when the primary care physician made and recorded a diagnosis of depression, most such nursing home residents remained untreated, incorrectly treated, or inadequately treated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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