Depression is a highly prevalent but underrecognized and undertreated mental health problem in community-dwelling, medically ill, and institutionalized older adults. Untreated depression is associated with serious negative consequences for the elderly patient. Nurses in various practice settings can reduce the negative effects of depression through early recognition, intervention, and referral of patients with depression. This article presents an overview of depression in late life with emphasis on age-related assessment considerations, clinical decision-making, and nursing intervention strategies for elders with depression. A standard of practice protocol for use by nurses in a variety of practice settings is also presented.
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