D Wagenaar; CC Colenda; M Kreft; J Sawade; J Gardiner; E Poverejan
Depression in nursing home residents is a common phenomenon, though there is a wide range in the severity of this disorder as experienced by elderly adults in the United States. Treating older patients for depression is costly in both human and financial terms. The authors review guidelines and recommendations for the diagnosis of depression and medical treatment of depressed elderly adults from the 1993 Clinical Practice Guidelines for Depression in Primary Care by the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), making note also of similar guidelines provided by the American Medical Directors Association in 1996 and those provided by the American Psychiatric Association in 2000. In November 1999, the authors used a Delphi survey to gather data from pre-screened panelists (N = 10) to have the panel review and clarify the importance and feasibility of each “A” rated item in the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research guidelines. This research allows health care providers to evaluate the importance and feasibility of items related to the delivery of mental health services for the elderly in nursing homes.