October 4, 2019
Dealing with Resident Depression

What’s the state of SNF depression management?

SpecialtyRx care experts weigh in Dealing with

Whether it’s due to a lack of resources or limited awareness, U.S. nursing homes seem to struggle when it comes to treating depression. Residents oſten grapple with mental confusion, emotional stress and other seemingly ‘normal’ aging symptoms. Sadly, these everyday challenges may mask real, underlying depressive disorders.

“The stigma associated with depression, and mental illness in general, may also impact our ability to identify these symptoms in our population,” says Steven Littlehale, a gerontological clinical nursing specialist. “In truth, the circumstances that bring most elders to us are oſten traumatic, even tragic, and are frequently combined with loss of function and home.”

In older adults, depression may cause irritability, confusion, anxiety, fatigue, sad or ‘empty’ mood, restlessness, loss of interest in activities, among other symptoms

 

PDPM: Path to wellness?

With PDPM changes set to kick off on October 1st, facilities are compelled to improve their assessment procedures, focusing not only on accuracy but also timeliness. The new ‘five-day assessment’ requires just one initial assessment as opposed to multiple.

In order to ensure maximum payment under Medicare, facilities must boost their speed and efficiency across the board. Now, what’s the depression connection? Many industry experts view the  PDPM ‘shakeup’ as a chance to improve—if not prioritize—identification and management of mental illness in residents.

“PDMP offers us an opportunity to ‘up our game’ when it comes to proper assessment and care of people with depressive symptoms and depression,” says Littlehale.

Also, under the new patient-driven model, “Caring for people with depression costs more, and is reimbursed more.”

So, as you navigate new payment procedures, take some time to seriously consider your staff’s ability to correctly assess and treat depression. Beyond the many beneficial prescription solutions, embrace quality improvement activities such as arts and craſts, music and pet therapy, knitting, dancing, meditation and more.