According to the National Institute on Aging, depression is a common problem among older adults. Detection and screening are the first steps in treating depression. Depression can affect every aspect of your life, leading to personal challenges or severe complications. Effective screening and identification of depressive symptoms is the first step in determining possible treatment options. Treating depression can improve a person’s overall quality of life therefore, it is crucial that as healthcare providers we lookout for signs of it.
In the skilled nursing facility (SNF) setting, the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) is used to screen depressive symptoms. The PHQ-9 is a valid and reliable self-report measure of depression severity. Common risk factors for depression in the SNFs include loss, grief, isolation, and overall declining health. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified depressive risk factors for many. Prioritizing depression detection and identifying any medical, social, and functional interventions can help improve the overall quality of life in older adults.
The clinicians at AdvantageCare Rehabilitation work closely with the SNF interdisciplinary teams to screen for depression symptoms by using the PHQ-9 so that an effective treatment approach can be developed and monitored. Decreasing depressive symptoms correlates to increased functional independence, personal safety, and decreased caregiver burden. On average, AdvantageCare saw a functional ability increase of approximately 37% in mobility tasks such as stairs and ambulation and an increase of approximately 23% in self-care tasks such as dressing, bathing, and toileting. The focus on mobility and self-care daily tasks promotes functional independence and activity and community re-integration. Therefore, our staff focuses heavily on detection and screening as key factors to treating depression and improving our patients’ overall quality of life.
For more information or to reference any of the above information please visit the links included below.
The PHQ-9 (nih.gov)
Risk of Depression in Nursing Homes (nursinghomeabusecenter.com)
Depression and Its Effect on Your Life (rtor.org)
Depression and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
JHQ-D-15-00008 76..88 (abramsonseniorcare.org)
Not so depressing after all – Rehab Realities – McKnight’s Long-Term Care News (mcknights.com)