Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 36, Issue 12, pp 613–620

Prevalence of depression and depression recognition in nursing homes

  • Jeanne Teresi
  • Robert Abrams
  • Douglas Holmes
  • Mildred Ramirez
  • Joseph Eimicke
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s127-001-8202-7

Cite this article as:
Teresi, J., Abrams, R., Holmes, D. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2001) 36: 613. doi:10.1007/s127-001-8202-7

Abstract

Background The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of depression among nursing home residents, and the extent of depression recognition among nursing home staff. Random samples totaling 319 nursing home residents, drawn from a simple random sample of six downstate New York nursing homes were evaluated psychiatrically for depression. Samples of nurse aides, nurses and social workers also assessed the same residents for the presence of depressive symptomatology. Method Psychiatrists assessed residents using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) criteria. Depression measures used were the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, the Feeling Tone Questionnaire, the Hamilton Depression Rating and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Personality Disorders Scale. Nursing and social services staff assessed residents using Depression Recognition Measures. Results Based on psychiatric evaluation, the prevalence estimate for probable and/or definite major depressive disorder among testable subjects was 14.4 % (95 % CI of 10.6 %–19.3 %); 15.4 % were not able to be assessed due to their refusal, impairment of consciousness, or severe physical illness. The estimate for minor depression was 16.8 % (95 % CI of 12.6 %–21.9 %). The prevalence of significant depressive symptomatology (including the category of possible depression) was 44.2 % (95 % CI of 38.2 %–50.3 %). The corresponding estimates of any depression were 19.7 % for social workers, 29 % for nurses and 32.1 % for nurse aides. Conclusions The prevalence of depressive disorders among nursing home residents is high; depression recognition is relatively low, with only 37 %–45 % of cases diagnosed by psychiatrists recognized as depressed by staff. A structured Depression Recognition Scale increased the rates of recognition (sensitivity of staff ratings) to 47 %–55 %, demonstrating the utility of the scale in increasing awareness of symptomatology.

Key words Depression – Recognition – Nursing homes – Staff – Prevalence

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanne Teresi
    • 1
  • Robert Abrams
    • 3
  • Douglas Holmes
    • 1
  • Mildred Ramirez
    • 1
  • Joseph Eimicke
    • 1
  1. 1.Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, 5901 Palisade Avenue, Riverdale, New York, USA, Tel.: +1-718/581-1748US
  2. 2.Columbia University Stroud Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of GeriatricsUS
  3. 3.Weill Medical College of Cornell UniversityUS
  4. 4.Columbia University, College of Physicians and SurgeonsUS