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Articles  |   September 1998
Late-life depression in primary care: where do we go from here?
Article Information
Articles   |   September 1998
Late-life depression in primary care: where do we go from here?
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 1998, Vol. 98, 489. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1998.98.9.489
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, September 1998, Vol. 98, 489. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1998.98.9.489
Abstract

One quarter of elderly patients in the primary care physician's office experience serious depressive symptoms. Despite efforts over the past 20 years to increase detection of late-life depression in primary care settings, patient outcomes have not improved. Undertreatment remains seriously problematic. Current efforts to improve recognition have included the development of depression practice guidelines, Depression Awareness Recognition and Treatment (D/ART) program, educational programs, and rudimentary outcomes measures. Screening tools for depression, such as the Geriatric Depression Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies--Depressed, and Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, have also been developed to help clinicians screen for depressive symptoms in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. However, to improve clinical outcomes, increased research efforts should focus upon physicians' attitudes and practice patterns, effective treatments for minor depression, and effective ways to assess patients' perceptions of depression, as well as ways to identify age-specific barriers to treatment adherence. In addition, incorporating valid outcome measures into the primary care clinical setting will be crucial to measure the impact of our treatments.