This study estimated the prevalence of diagnosed depression among elderly Medicare fee-for-service home health patients and identified demographic, functional, and care utilization characteristics associated with the diagnosis.
Data from the 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey were analyzed to generate nationally representative estimates. Chi square and Wald tests, corrected for the sampling design, tested for differences in categorical and continuous measures, respectively.
Nationally, 6.4% (N=42,192) of the study population received a diagnosis of depression, which was associated with younger age (p=.016), lack of a primary caregiver other than the home care agency (p<.001), a lower likelihood of receiving medical social services (p=.010), and a greater likelihood of using antidepressants (p<.001).
The rate of diagnosed depression was higher than the rate found in a previous study but lower than rates in studies that used diagnostic interviews or screening tools. Diagnosed depression was associated with a limited number of patient characteristics. (Psychiatric Services 62:538–540, 2011)