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Access to Healthcare Among Those Experiencing Homelessness: A Depression Screening Project

Description

Homeless individuals encounter barriers such as lack of health insurance, increased cost of care and unavailability of resources. They have increased risk of comorbid physical disease and poor mental health.

Homeless individuals encounter barriers such as lack of health insurance, increased cost of care and unavailability of resources. They have increased risk of comorbid physical disease and poor mental health. Depression is a prevalent mental health disorder in the US linked to increased risk of mortality. Literature suggests depression screening can identify high-risk individuals with using the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9).

The objective of this project is to determine if screening identifies depression in the homeless and how it impacts healthcare access. Setting is a local organization in Phoenix offering shelter to homeless individuals. An evidence-based project was implemented over two months in 2019 using convenience sampling. Intervention included depression screening using the PHQ-9, referring to primary care and tracking appointment times. IRB approval obtained from Arizona State University, privacy discussed, and consent obtained prior to data collection. Participants were assigned a random number to protect privacy.

A chart audit tool was used to obtain sociodemographics and insurance status. Descriptive statistics used and analyzed using Intellectus. Sample size was (n = 18), age (M = 35) most were White-non-Hispanic, 44% had a high school diploma and 78% were insured. Mean score was 7.72, three were previously diagnosed and not referred. Three were referred with a turnaround appointment time of one, two and seven days respectively. No significant correlation found between age and depression severity. A significant correlation found between previous diagnosis and depression severity. Attention to PHQ-9 varied among providers and not always addressed. Future projects should focus on improving collaboration between this facility and providers, increasing screening and ensuring adequate follow up and treatment.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05-04

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Screening Older Adults for Depression in Primary Care

Description

Background and Purpose:
Depression in older adults is a significant problem that often goes undetected and untreated in primary care. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening adults for

Background and Purpose:
Depression in older adults is a significant problem that often goes undetected and untreated in primary care. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening adults for depression in primary care to increase detection, so it can be adequately managed. Despite this recommendation, screening rates in primary care are low. The purpose of this project was to implement a screening intervention and examine the effect of screening on the treatment of depression in older adults.

Methods:
The screening intervention was implemented as an evidence-based project in a small primary care practice. Consenting adults ≥ 65 years of age were screened with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Research indicates the PHQ-9 is valid and reliable for older adults. A post-screening chart audit was conducted to collect data and analyze the outcome of screening related to treatment.

Conclusions:
A total of 38 participants were screened. Five (13.2%) participants had a positive screening, two received treatment during the follow up period. The number of participants who were treated after a positive screening was significant (p= .040).

Implications for Practice:
Screening can increase detection and treatment of depression and reduce the associated illness burden in the older adult population.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-04-21