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Management of depression and referral of older people to psychological therapies: A systematic review of qualitative studies

Frost, R, Beattie, A, Bhanu, C, Walters, K and Ben-Shlomo, Y (2019) Management of depression and referral of older people to psychological therapies: A systematic review of qualitative studies. British Journal of General Practice, 69 (680). E171-E181. ISSN 0960-1643

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Background Depressive symptoms are common in later life and increase both the risk of functional and cognitive decline and the use of healthcare services. Despite older people expressing preferences for talking therapies, they are less likely to be referred than younger adults, particularly when aged ≥80 years. Aim To explore how healthcare professionals (HCPs) manage older people in relation to depression and referrals to psychological therapies. Design and setting Systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Method MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and the Social Sciences Citation Index (inception–March 2018) were searched for studies exploring HCPs’ views regarding management of late-life depression across all settings. Studies of older people’s views or depression management across all ages were excluded. Results In total, 27 studies, were included; these predominantly focused on the views of GPs and primary and community care nurses. Many HCPs felt that late-life depression was mainly attributable to social isolation and functional decline, but treatments appropriate for this were limited. Clinicians perceived depression to have associated stigma for older adults, which required time to negotiate. Limited time in consultations and the complexity of needs in later life meant physical health was often prioritised over mental health, particularly in people with frailty. Good management of late-life depression appeared to depend more on the skills and interest of individual GPs and nurses than on any structured approach. Conclusion Mental ill health needs to be a more-prominent concern in the care of older adults, with greater provision of psychological services tailored to later life. This may facilitate future identification and management of depression.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Attitude of Health Personnel; Depression; Psychological Techniques; Clinical Competence; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Referral and Consultation; Patient Care Management; Primary Health Care; aged; depression; frail elderly; primary health care; qualitative research; review; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Attitude of Health Personnel; Clinical Competence; Depression; Humans; Patient Care Management; Primary Health Care; Psychological Techniques; Referral and Consultation; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; Public Health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Research & Innovation Services
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2024 11:02
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 11:02
DOI or ID number: 10.3399/bjgp19X701297
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23467
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