Depression among older people living in care homes – a call for good practice examples

Caroline Cooke is Policy Manager at British Geriatrics Society. Caroline is currently supporting a joint project being carried out by BGS and the Old Age Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatry. Here she explains the aim of the project and how you can help to make it a success. 

In the UK 405,000 older people (65+) currently live in care homes. Older people living in care homes have complex health needs and most residents have multiple long-term conditions, significant disability and frailty which affect both their physical and mental health. Dementia affects the majority of residents in care homes to some degree and depression is common. Integrated provision is required to meet the needs of care home residents who require co-ordinated input from generalists and specialists in multiple disciplines, and partnerships are essential to integration. 

This is some of the information in BGS’s Guidance on commissioning and providing effective health care for older people living in care homes.

But what do the key elements that enable excellent practice to be developed and delivered really look like?  The Old Age Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatry and the British Geriatrics Society are working together on a joint report to showcase and share some of the very best practice that exists when geriatricians and psychiatrists work together to ensure timely diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment of depression in older people living in care homes.

We want to highlight and promote the benefits of your work with clear examples of the improved health outcomes that are achieved when geriatricians, old age psychiatrists and other health professionals collaborate to deliver fully integrated care for older people with depression in care homes.

Our aim is to bring the issues to the attention of key stakeholders by holding an event to discuss the implications of the report’s findings. This will inform the development of policy recommendations based on the best practice evidence you share with us, and will be aimed at key opinion-formers and decision-makers. To do this we need your help.

If you are involved in working with psychiatrists in care homes to care for older people with depression we would very much like to hear from you.  Your contribution, if selected, will be individually acknowledged in the report.  If you would like to contribute please provide us with some information using this template and email it to policy@bgs.org.uk by Friday 9 June (please contact Caroline via this email if you plan to submit but need longer)

2 thoughts on “Depression among older people living in care homes – a call for good practice examples

  1. Please reconsider the report effort. People are suffering now. Please release the success stories one at a time, and highlight the specific success in each that can be copied now, today, this week, this summer. The measure of one’s success is the name of one senior who feels his life is better now because of what you’ve done.

  2. Hi British Geriatrics Society,

    It is heart-breaking to hear that many senior members who are in aged care facilities suffer both physical and mental health problems. However, it is promising how healthcare professionals from the Royal College of Psychiatry and the British Geriatrics Society are working together to address the issues of depressions in senior members.

    At My 83 Year Old Roommate, we believe that there is an opportunity to address mental health issues through a homesharing program. The senior citizens are able to welcome someone into their home (generally a student) and they are assisted in general tasks, such as grocery shopping, cleaning and gardening. This also allows senior citizens to have a companion and not feel completely isolated from society – a key accelerator of depression.

    If you have time, we would love to collaborate with you to create a blog or if you would like to see our campaign, please check us out directly on our WordPress site or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/my83yearoldroommate/

    Thank you,
    My 83 Year Old Roommate

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