Addressing Depression in Older Home Health Patients: Increasing Access to Evidence-Based Care
Special Projects Fund
November 16, 2006
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Challenges to improving depression management in home care range from organizational factors—such as a scarcity of mental health specialists—to patient factors—such as difficulty in assessing depression among patients who are seriously ill or disabled. The project worked with discharged hospital patients who needed short-term home health services to promote their recovery.
Recent evidence indicates that 25% of older adult patients are clinically diagnosed with significant depression. At the same time, 80% of those individuals who are diagnosed with depression do not receive treatment.
NYHealth’s grant to the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University addressed this issue by supporting a project to improve outcomes of elderly home care patients who are suffering from depression. The project took place in four home care agencies across New York State.
Major project activities included: (1) training non-mental health nurses to identify depression in elderly home health patients; and (2) implementing the Depression Management Carepath (CAREPATH) model, which further trains nurses in how to best manage depressed patients and to know when to refer these patients for further treatment. CAREPATH is a collaborative model designed to guide non-mental health nurses in evidence-based care of patients with depression in the home care setting. A careful evaluation accompanied this project to determine whether CAREPATH was an effective model that should be replicated in other settings.