This study focused on the assessment of depression among nursing home elders, and on determining the efficacy of an intervention strategy for depression using a geropsychiatric nurse in conjunction with trained older adult volunteers in the role of mental health paraprofessionals. Nursing home residents (n = 139) were assessed for depression using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS); 94 (68%) were found to have depressive symptomatology. Among those receiving the intervention, depressive symptomatology was significantly reduced, but no significant decline was evident in the control group. The ability of the minimum data set (MDS) to detect depression as compared to the GDS was evaluated. Relationships between depression and health status, life satisfaction, and social support were also examined.
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