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J Palliat Med. 2008 Mar;11(2):158-63. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2007.0140.

Psychiatric issues in palliative care: recognition of depression in patients enrolled in hospice care.

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1
Center for Palliative Studies, San Diego Hospice & Palliative Care, San Diego, California, USA. sirwin@sdhospice.org

Abstract

Major depression is prevalent, difficult to assess, underrecognized, and undertreated in hospice settings. Furthermore, it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. A retrospective chart review of 2716 patients receiving hospice care was conducted in order to determine the baseline rate of recognition of depression in patients with advanced, life-threatening illnesses by frontline hospice clinicians. Documentation of "depression" as either a diagnosis or problem was used as an estimate of how often these disorders were considered significant issues by the treating interdisciplinary team. Of the patients receiving home/long-term care, 10.8% (234/2168) had depression documented as a diagnosis or significant problem. The presence of recognized depression in this setting was associated with significant differences in gender, marital status, and terminal diagnoses. Total length of hospice care was also significantly longer. Of patients receiving inpatient care, 13.7% (75/548) had depression documented as a diagnosis or significant problem. Recognized depression in this setting was associated with significant differences in marital status, length of inpatient stay, and total time in hospice care. If documentation is representative of the care that the interdisciplinary teams provide, depression of any kind appears to be underrecognized in this population. In fact, it is on the low end of prevalence estimates in the literature. Improved depression assessment is needed in order to minimize the impact of depression on patients living with advanced, life-threatening illnesses.

PMID:
18333728
DOI:
10.1089/jpm.2007.0140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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