Depression among older people living in care homes report

Members of the British Geriatrics Society and the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatry both have expertise in providing high quality treatment and care for older people.

Geriatricians and old age psychiatrists work with older people with depression on a daily basis, and share a concern about the significant levels of depression among those older people who live in care homes.  

In 2017 we decided to carry out a joint project to collate and showcase examples of the best practice that flows from effective interdisciplinary collaboration and practice in treating depression in older people living in care homes.  

Our aim was to promote awareness and understanding of the key features of best practice among practitioners, commissioners and policy-makers. Our objective was to explore the ways in which geriatricians and allied health professionals, and psychiatrists specialising in the care of older people, are working together to overcome the specific challenges that arise when treating depression in older people living in this community.  We wanted to focus on those people whose physical and mental health needs are severe enough to require input from psychiatrists and from geriatricians, while fully recognising the key role GPs play in diagnosis and treatment.  

With that objective in mind, we put out a call to members of the BGS and to members of the Old Age Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatry, asking them to submit good practice examples.  

Our short report tells you about our research journey, presents the examples received, and offers some reflections and analysis of the issues that it raises.  

We are publishing the report now because we want to engage others in discussion and debate about current practice and encourage people to reflect with us on the experience that is shared in this report.