Background: Understanding the prevalence, incidence and cofactors of depression among long-term elderly nursing home (LTNH) residents domiciled for eight months or more may help optimize depression treatment in this vulnerable group. We quantified first year depression in American LTNH residents and the associations between depression and resident/facility characteristics.
Methods: Data were obtained from the Minimum Data Set and Online Survey Certification and Reporting for 634,060 LTNH residents admitted from 1999 to 2005 in 4,216 facilities. Depression first diagnosed at admission and at subsequent quarterly intervals through the first year of stay was examined. Logistic regressions modeled correlates of newly identified depression in each time-period.
Results: Recorded depression at admission and during the first year increased from 1999 to 2005. By 2005, 54.4% of LTNH residents had depression diagnosed over the first year; 32.8% at admission and a further 21.6% later during the first year. Antidepressant use was reported prior to depression diagnosis for 48% of those first identified depressed after admission. Men, non-Hispanic blacks, never married, and severely-cognitively impaired LTNH residents were less often identified with depression, particularly at admission. Pain and physical comorbidity were positively associated with depression identified throughout the first year. Prior institutionalization was associated with depression at admission, but not new depression after admission. Facility characteristics had weaker associations with depression.
Conclusions: High depression rates at admission and during the first year indicate a need to monitor and treat large numbers of American LTNH residents for depression. Reduced associations between demographics and depression as stays progress suggest other factors have increased roles in depression etiology.