Study reveals depressed elderly risk early death

March 7, 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: More than 15,000 frail elderly New Zealanders are lonely

Related Stories

More than 15,000 frail elderly New Zealanders are lonely

December 14, 2017
More than 15,000 frail elderly identified as being lonely according to a world-first study of 72,000 older New Zealanders. That equates to one in five older people.

Stress hormone may identify family members likely to suffer from anxiety after loved one's ICU care

December 11, 2017
When a loved one has been hospitalized in intensive care for a critical illness, many family members experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress or other negative effects lasting months, according to new research ...

Medical marijuana for children with cancer? What providers think

December 12, 2017
A study published in Pediatrics examined interdisciplinary provider perspectives on legal medical marijuana use in children with cancer. It found that 92 percent of providers were willing to help children with cancer access ...

Pregnancy expert discusses progress for women with severe pregnancy sickness

December 8, 2017
Severe pregnancy sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), is a debilitating condition that begins in early pregnancy. It is characterised by severe and constant nausea and vomiting, often resulting in dehydration that requires ...

A Medicaid challenge: Poor health, but a drive to improve

December 7, 2017
It's one of Medicaid's challenges.

Orange light as a potential mental health treatment

December 7, 2017
Can orange light therapy help people who have serious mental disorders?

Recommended for you

Amber-tinted glasses may provide relief for insomnia

December 15, 2017
How do you unwind before bedtime? If your answer involves Facebook and Netflix, you are actively reducing your chance of a good night's sleep. And you are not alone: 90 percent of Americans use light-emitting electronic devices, ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Office work can be a pain in the neck

December 15, 2017
Neck pain is a common condition among office workers, but regular workplace exercises can prevent and reduce it, a University of Queensland study has found.

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

One in five patients report discrimination in health care

December 14, 2017
Almost one in five older patients with a chronic disease reported experiencing health care discrimination of one type or another in a large national survey that asked about their daily experiences of discrimination between ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.