Study reveals depressed elderly risk early death

Mar 07, 2007

In a project involving more than 300 elderly people who had been discharged from hospital, 17% were found to have previously undiagnosed depression and of that figure, 7% died within two years of leaving hospital.

The study also showed that 41% of elderly people who have depression are often later re-admitted to hospital with other illnesses, possibly a result of not receiving appropriate treatment for their depression.

The participants, all aged over 75, were interviewed regularly over a two-year period following discharge from hospital. Factors including physical illness, breathing capacity and social activity were found to impact on the prevalence of depression and consequently the likelihood of re-admission to medical care and early death.

Professor Ken Wilson, from the University's School of Population, Community and Behavioural Sciences, said: "The project has shown that depression is common in older people with physical ill health, recently discharged from medical care. It is often undiagnosed and both patients and doctors confuse it with other illnesses or general signs of ageing. This can have detrimental impact on life expectancy and likelihood of going back into hospital.

"Depression is still a relatively 'new' disease in terms of treatments and services available to sufferers and many older people are still unaware of the symptoms. Often they will visit their doctor presuming they have a physical illness when they are actually showing signs of depression and will not receive appropriate treatment as a result."

The research team hope that their findings will impact on health care policy with the introduction of a pilot project to identify patients at high risk of depression when they are in hospital. Professor Wilson added: "We hope that future research we have planned will inform new approaches to health care for the elderly with serious illnesses so their chance of survival in the community after leaving hospital is maximised."

Source: University of Liverpool

Explore further: Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fear of economic blow as births drop around world

May 07, 2014

Nancy Strumwasser, a high school teacher from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, always thought she'd have two children. But the layoffs that swept over the U.S. economy around the time her son was born six years ...

Keep cats away from Easter lilies

Apr 14, 2014

Emergency Room veterinarians at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University are warning pet owners that Easter lilies can cause kidney failure – and often death ...

Guns aren't the only things killing cops

Apr 11, 2014

The public does not realize—in fact, police themselves may not realize—that the dangers police officers are exposed to on a daily basis are far worse than anything on "Law and Order."

Pets and anesthesia

Mar 21, 2014

Have you been avoiding getting your pet regular dental care? You're not alone. Most pet owners understand that in animals—just as in people—good oral health is conducive to overall well-being, says Gillian Fraser, V00, ...

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

17 hours ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

18 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

18 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments : 0