Journal Article

Doctors’ and nurses’ observations on the Geriatric Depression Rating Scale

Margaret F. Hammond

in Age and Ageing

Published on behalf of British Geriatrics Society

Volume 33, issue 2, pages 189-192
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0002-0729
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-2834 | DOI:
Doctors’ and nurses’ observations on the Geriatric Depression Rating Scale

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Background: screening older patients routinely for depression using the Geriatric Depression Scale is recommended, but there is little evidence that this practice is widespread. This study explored doctors’ and nurses’ attitudes towards the Geriatric Depression Scale in order to identify possibilities for improving practice.

Design: structured interviews.

Setting: Acute Care of the Elderly wards in the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Participants: 20 junior doctors and 25 nurses.

Results: only 10% of respondents would consider using the Geriatric Depression Scale for routine screening. Objections were to process as well as content. The Geriatric Depression Scale was felt to be ‘too depressing’ for routine use and a barrier to rapport with the patient. In addition to screening for possible depression, doctors and nurses expressed different requirements from a depression scale. Doctors wanted a formal method of rating and documenting symptoms. Nurses required a therapeutic structure within which they could help patients to explore feelings. Nurses also wanted the option of offering counselling for their patients but felt they needed training.

Conclusions: lack of enthusiasm for the Geriatric Depression Scale reduces its usefulness as a screening tool. A screening method that is more acceptable to nurses and doctors might improve depression screening practice.

Keywords: aged; depression/diagnosis; geriatric assessment; questionnaires

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine

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