Caring for depression in older home health patients
Home Care Services
Depression is common in older home health patients and increases their risk of adverse outcomes. Depression screening is required by Medicare's Outcome and Assessment Information Set. The Depression Care for Patients at Home (CAREPATH) was developed as a feasible strategy for home health nurses to manage depression in their patients. The protocol builds on nurses' existing clinical skills and is designed to fit within routine home visits. Major components include ongoing clinical assessment, care coordination, medication management, education, and goal setting. In a randomized trial, Depression CAREPATH patients had greater improvement in depressive symptoms compared to usual care. The difference between groups was significant at 3 months, growing larger and more clinically meaningful over 1 year. The intervention had no impact on patient length of stay, number of home visits, or duration of visits. Thus, nurses can play a pivotal role in the long-term course and outcomes of patients with depression. [Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 53(11), 25-30.].