Home Health Care Nurse Perceptions of Geriatric Depression and Disability Care Management

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Purpose of the Study:

Psychosocial interventions alone or combined with antidepressant medication can effectively treat mild to moderate geriatric depression. However, most home health care patients with depression and disability do not receive these interventions. Moreover, relatively little is known about home health care nurse views about depression management. Therefore, our research purpose was to provide a deeper understanding about how home health care nurses perceive and experience depression detection and evaluation within the context of caring for geriatric patients with disabilities.

Design and Methods:

This qualitative descriptive study involved 2 focus groups and 16 semistructured interviews with nurses providing care to geriatric home health care patients followed by observation during 25 nurse home visits to geriatric patients who had depression and disability.


Nurses demonstrated confidence in caring for elderly patients with disabilities. However, they expressed different views about the nature of depression and the integration of depression and disability care in daily practice. Evidence points to a need for advanced training that supports an enhanced role for generalist homecare nurses in providing depression care management for this vulnerable geriatric population.


Policy challenges are associated with ways in which home health care is fiscally organized primarily to address patients’ physical and acute skilled care needs and not depression.

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