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Detection of Depression in Persons Living in the Nursing Home

Title Detection of Depression in Persons Living in the Nursing Home
Principal Investigators
Ellen L. Brown, EdD, MS, RN, FAAN
Dr. Ellen Brown

The primary aim of the pilot study is to evaluate the impact of an intervention (skills-training and supporting organizational change) on depression care among cognitively impaired ethnically diverse nursing home residents. In the long term care setting detection of depression is often complicated by the presence of dementia. Depression and dementia are the two most frequent psychiatric syndromes in the older adult population. Detection of depression in persons with dementia is often complicated by a number of barriers including the inability of many individuals to provide reliable self report. Informant information is often required in assessing behavior or emotion in persons with dementia as care recipients may have deficits in reporting symptoms due to memory problems, lack of insight, and poor ability to articulate symptoms (Brown et al, 2007). Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) working in nursing home are well positioned to observe for resident symptoms of depression and behavioral disturbance, but they often do not have the knowledge to recognize, ability to document observations, and convey these observations to other members of the nursing home team.

In this study to be conducted at Miami Jewish Health Systems (MJHS), the largest nursing home in the U.S southeast providing care to more than 600 residents on the MJHS campus and many others in the community, we will evaluate the impact of CNA skills-training (and organizational support) for observing and documenting mood and behavioral disturbance in persons with dementia. This translational research project drawing on Dr Brown’s guideline on the topic (selected for inclusion by the National Guideline Clearinghouse) is innovative as it uses a daily, observational checklist to be completed by the Certified Nursing Assistant.

Funded by a grant from Pfizer, Inc.