Title

Accuracy of Recognition and Diagnosis of Comorbid Depression in the Nursing Home

Publication Date

1999

Journal

Aging and Mental Health

Volume

3

Issue

4

First Page

340

Last Page

350

Abstract

A variety of research has documented high levels of depression among older adults in the health care setting. Additional research has shown that care providers in health care settings are not very effective at diagnosing comorbid depression.This is a troublesome finding since comorbid depression has been linked to a number of negative outcomes in older adults. Early results have indicated that comorbid depression may be associated with a number of unfavorable consequences ranging from impairments in physical functioning to increased mortality.The health care setting with arguably the highest rate of physical impairment is the nursing home and it is the nursing home where the effects of comorbid depression may be most costly. Therefore, the current analysis uses data from the Institutional Population Component of the NationalMedical Expenditure Survey (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1990) to explore rates of both recognized and unrecognized comorbid depression in the nursing home setting. Using a constructed proxy variable representative of the DSM-III-R diagnosis of depression, results indicate that approximately 8.1% of nursing home residents have an unrecognized potential comorbid depression.

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