Older adults admitted to hospital are often depressed. However, research shows that healthcare staff struggle to diagnose depression and provide appropriate support.
Older adults admitted to hospital are often depressed. However, research shows that healthcare staff struggle to diagnose depression and provide appropriate support. While many are given antidepressant medication for depression, very few people are referred to psychological treatment or have their discharge information passed on to primary care teams. This can impact on future care.
COVID-19 has caused anxiety and depression in older adults. This is not only because of the fear of a fatal and debilitating disease but also because of the loneliness and anxiety that comes with visiting restrictions on many wards. Some studies have shown this to be as high as 43-62% for patients who have had COVID-19.
Geriatric MDTs are the best at looking after the whole person. So why is the mental health component so under-recognized?
Most people will respond with time. Professionals are often trying to manage competing priorities within overworked and under-resourced departments. A lack of confidence in diagnosing depression or understanding that it is a common problem in older adults with multiple co-morbidities, and many life experiences is another common reason. The theme of loss is common. It can be loss of self-confidence, independence, and loss of close friends and family members due to loss. Stigma is another significant issue. This is especially true for those who grew up in stoicism, and were not able to discuss mental illness openly when they were younger.
While it's impossible to list all reasons for depression, it's possible to highlight three main themes. Although these interventions may not be permanent, they are a good starting point to ensure that no one is left behind.
We should not try to diagnose everyone with depression. It is okay to accept what is normal.
It's normal to feel anxious in hospital. It is normal to feel sad after surgery, and to feel depressed if things aren't going as smoothly as you would like. When you are in a 6-bed bay with other equally sick and bored people, it is normal to feel tired. It's common to feel depressed because it has been a week since your last visitor.
Low mood is often a normal response to being sick, losing a loved one, or being admitted to hospital. Let's not label everyone depressed. Instead, let us "Normalise and Not Pathologize" their reactions.
It is important to ask ourselves if the person is sad or afraid. Is it because they don't know what's going on, are they waiting for important results, are they unsure or both? Your staff should ensure that communication is clear and they take the time to talk to patients about their concerns, and discuss the results. Are there simple solutions available?
If our goal is to increase awareness, training doesn't need to be complicated. (See Osmosis quick videos on youtube)
Rapid identification means that you can quickly identify depression. Depression is a low mood, loss of interest, or loss of pleasure lasting more than two weeks. It also includes at least four of the following:
Significant changes in appetite
Loss of motivation or energy
Feelings of suicidal thoughts or that you would be happier dead.
These symptoms should not be confused with other medically explained phenomena such as shortness of breath due to low energy or dysphagia due to poor appetite. However, we know that this is more common in older adults and multi-morbid individuals.
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If you want to avoid problems such as strokes and heart disease, there is an easy way.
Get more fruits and vegetables.
Whole grains are better than refined ones. Brown rice is better than white. Switch to whole-wheat pasta
Consider lean proteins such as poultry, fish and beans.
Reduce your intake of processed foods, sugar, salt, saturated fat, and other unhealthy food.
Flexibility is key to eating well, according to Joyce Meng, MD assistant professor at UConn Health's Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. You can follow a strict diet plan if you prefer. It's okay if you don't like following a strict diet plan.
Tricia Montgomery (52), founder of K9 Fit Club knows firsthand the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Her favorite things are eating healthy food and making small, frequent meals. She says, "I don’t deny myself anything." "I still enjoy dessert, key lime pie, yum!" -- I love frozen gummy bears and moderation is the key.
Get regular checkups. Your doctor will keep track of your medical history so that you can stay healthy. If you are at high risk of osteoporosis (a condition that weakens bones), your doctor may recommend more vitamin D and calcium.
You may be recommended by your doctor to have screening tests done to monitor your health and detect conditions before they become serious.
Be open to communication. Meng said, "If you have any questions, ask your doctor." "Ensure you are satisfied with the information." Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about any medication or procedure.
It can be very detrimental to your health. It is impossible to avoid it all, but there are ways you can reduce the effects. Do not take on too many responsibilities. Set limits for yourself and others. It is okay to say no.
To relieve stress, try:
Talking to a friend or family member.
Develop healthy habits
You can prevent problems from coming your way tomorrow if you make the right decisions today.
Brush your teeth twice daily and floss each day.
Limit your alcohol. Limit your alcohol intake to 1 drink per day.
Take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Get better sleep. Try to sleep for at least 8 hours. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Keep out of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Wear your seatbelt.
Meng suggests that you take time each day to invest in your own health.
Montgomery was able to see the benefits. Montgomery says that she has overcome health issues, is happy, and has a positive outlook. She says that her life has been forever transformed.