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Depression in Older Adults Receiving Hospice Care 

Depression in Older Adults Receiving Hospice Care
Chapter:
Depression in Older Adults Receiving Hospice Care
Author(s):

Abhilash K. Desai

, Daphne Lo

, and George T. Grossberg

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199796816.003.0029
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date: 20 January 2020

Depression (both major and minor depression) is prevalent in terminally ill older adults, and is under-diagnosed and undertreated in this population. Depression in older adults receiving hospice care has not been rigorously studied and most of the existing research in this area has been conducted in patients terminally ill due to cancer. Only a few of these studies involve older adults receiving hospice care. Depression in terminally ill older adults may reduce quality of life, increase stress in family members, impair decision making capacity and may shorten survival. Depression is often mistaken for normal grief and although differentiating between them is challenging, a systematic assessment allows for accurate diagnosis. Clinical experience and limited research data indicate that depression responds to a combination of psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions in older adults who are terminally ill.

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