Detecting depression in the aged: Is there concordance between screening tools and the perceptions of nursing home staff and residents? A pilot study in a rural aged care facility

Luke Johnston, Alexander Reid, Jessica Wilson, Janelle Levesque, Brian Driver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Recognition of depression in the elderly is exacerbated in rural and remote regions by a lack of mental health specialists. In nursing homes, screening tools have been advocated to circumvent the variable reliability of both nursing staff and residents in recognising depression. Debate concerning the utility of screening tools abounds. Previous research has neglected concordance between screening tools, nursing staff and residents in recognising depression. The present study aimed to determine if there was a significant difference in the proportion of depressed residents identified by recognition sources, and assessed the level of chance corrected agreement between sources. Participants: One hundred and two residents of aged care facilities in Wagga Wagga, Australia, mean age of 85.19 ± 7.09 years. Setting: Residents were interviewed within their residential aged care facility. Design: Cross-sectional, between-subjects design. Main outcome measures: Residents, nursing staff, Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-12R) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Results: Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and nursing staff professional opinion were not significantly different; however, both measures were significantly different to the resident measures (GDS-12R and resident opinion). Kappa statistic analysis of outcome measures revealed, at best, no more than a moderate level of chance corrected agreement between said sources. Conclusion: It is tentatively argued that the different sources might correspond to qualitatively different 'depression' constructs, and that health professionals who are concerned with depression in the elderly be aware of the disparity between, and subsequently consider, a variety of recognition sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalThe Australian Journal of Rural Health
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Mental health
  • Nursing home
  • Psychogeriatrics
  • Recognition
  • Screening tool

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