Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities rely on their caregivers for many important services. From managing their medicines and basic needs to treating and recognizing signs of illness, nursing home doctors and staff play integral roles in keeping their residents’ safe and healthy. While many individuals who work in nursing homes take their duties seriously, not all facilities are effectively recognizing and supporting the mental health needs of their residents.
Depression is a serious condition that can afflict individuals of any age. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents may suffer from it and go undiagnosed by their care and medical providers. This post will discuss the prevalence of depression in nursing home residents and what individuals can do when they suspect their loved ones’ mental health is being ignored. This post does not provide any legal or medical advice.
Research on depression in nursing home settings
A 2009 study on depression in nursing homes shined an important and upsetting light on the extent of the problem. According to the researchers, nearly half of the patients studied – 47.4% – suffered from some form of depression. Classification for depression ranged from major depression to experiencing depressive episodes, and of those found to suffer from major depression, fewer than half were on antidepressants for support.
The researchers found that not many nursing home workers looked for depression in their patients, and others did not know what to look for when assessing their patients’ mental health. The research concluded that depression is a problem for nursing home residents and is often unaddressed due to many factors.
Advocating for nursing home residents
Depression is a serious illness that should be addressed in the nursing home setting. When it goes untreated, depression can cause sleep and eating disturbances, sadness, pain, and anxiety. These and depression’s other symptoms can be harmful to individuals who require the services of nursing home facilities.
Undiagnosed conditions like depression are problematic and family members of nursing home residents can take action to ensure their loved ones are protected. Counsel from trusted nursing home neglect attorneys can be invaluable in their efforts to get their loved ones the care they need.