attention to the need for better depression detection
techniques. Many North American organizations have
developed recommendations that are being used by clinicians to both recognize and treat patients with depression
among long-term care populations.
such as Health Quality Ontario are working
together with the government and researchers to develop care standards and measure how well long-term care
homes are achieving these standards across the
reports Dr. Asmer. and assessing the
efficacy of these guidelines will help improve the detection
and treatment of depression in individuals living in
Funding for dementia research has also increased over the
last decade. Moreover, Dr. Kirkham notes, several provinces
across Canada have developed dementia strategies that
focus on addressing the mental health needs of older
adults, including those in long-term care, through education, training and a greater availability of appropriate
programs and treatment services.
not directed at depression in long-term care
specifically, since depression is such a frequent problem in
dementia care, these efforts may eventually lead to better
strategies for identifying and treating depression in longterm says Dr. Kirkham.
Undiagnosed depression is associated with functional
decline in older adults, the researchers say, which in itself
results in the need for greater care and assistance especially among individuals with dementia.
Already, research into depression and its associated
cognitive challenges has given long-term care providers
a number of proven treatment strategies. These include
using exercise and physical activities (when possible) to
mitigate depressive feelings, scheduling pleasant activities
throughout the day, and ensuring routines include meaningful social interactions.
On the medical front, research has highlighted the value
of antidepressants in residents with moderate to severe
depression without dementia. However, the treatment of
depression among residents with dementia with medication is still a developing area.
Reducing depression in long-term care will take time and a
concerted effort to provide long-term care homes with the
training, tools and strategies to deal with symptoms at all
stages, says Dr. Seitz. As a start, he says, depression needs
to be more in the spotlight and not considered a normal
part of aging. LTCT
Black+McDonald OLTCA Ad Fall 2016.pdf 06/15/2016 8:17:43 AM
LONG TERM CARE TODAY