Depression ups risk for nursing home admission

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Consistent feelings of sadness or depression may predict later nursing home admission among seniors, study findings show.

“Even after taking into account physical health and functional status, people with unmanaged depression are much more likely to be admitted to a nursing home,” study author, Dr. Yael Harris, of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore, told Reuters Health.

This suggests that “appropriate identification and management of depression could prevent or postpone the use of nursing home services,” he added.

Previous researchers have linked depression with illness, death and increased use of various resources, and investigations conducted in nursing homes have revealed that many residents — as many as 60 percent of otherwise mentally healthy seniors in one study — have depression or experience symptoms of the condition. Yet, little research has explored the relationship between depression symptoms in the elderly and their risk of entering a nursing home.

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