Language and pain predict persistent depression among seriously ill home care clients

TitleLanguage and pain predict persistent depression among seriously ill home care clients
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsAmeen A, Williams N, Guthrie DM
JournalPalliative & Supportive Care
ISBN Number1478-9515
Accession Number36727276
Keywordsdepression, home care, Older adults, Rai-hc, seriously ill

Objectives This study examined potential predictors of persistent depressive symptoms in a cohort of seriously ill older adults (aged 65+ years) receiving home care services. Methods This was a retrospective cohort study using secondary data collected from the Resident Assessment Instrument for Home Care for all assessments completed between 2001 and 2020. The cohort included seriously ill individuals with depressive symptoms at baseline and who continued to have depressive symptoms on reassessment within 12 months (n = 8,304). Serious illness was defined as having severe health instability, a prognosis of less than 6 months, or a goal of care related to palliative care (PC) on admission to the home care program. Results The mean age of the sample was 80.8 years (standard deviation [SD] = 7.7), 61.1% were female, and 82.1% spoke English as their primary language. The average length of time between assessments was 4.9 months (SD = 3.3). During that time, 64% of clients had persistent symptoms of depression. A multivariate logistic regression model found that language, pain, caregiver burden, and cognitive impairment were the most significant predictors of experiencing persistent depressive symptoms. Significance of results Persistent depressive symptoms are highly prevalent in this population and, left untreated, could contribute to the person experiencing a “bad death.” Some of the risk factors for this outcome are amenable to change, making it important to continually assess and flag these factors so interventions can be implemented to optimize the person’s quality of life for as long as possible.