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Keywords:

  • Education;
  • training;
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms;
  • nursing home;
  • assisted living;
  • mental illness

Abstract

Context

Despite the high prevalence of depression in long-term care (LTC), it often is unrecognized and inadequately treated. Thus, the goals of the present study were to evaluate LTC staff characteristics that are associated with knowledge and beliefs about depression.

Methods

A cross sectional study of 371 LTC staff members completed a knowledge and beliefs about depression questionnaire, a short demographic questionnaire, a burden measure, and a questionnaire about attitudes associated with working with depressed residents.

Results

Relative to nurses, social workers, and activity staff, paraprofessional caregivers had a lower score on the depression measure and a higher score on the burden measure. Paraprofessional caregivers were more likely to view depression as a normal phenomenon, held less accurate beliefs about signs and symptoms of depression, and were less familiar with the effectiveness of specific treatments of depression.

Conclusions

Educational interventions about depression should be specifically geared to meet the needs of paraprofessional caregivers who provide the majority of care to LTC residents, yet possess less knowledge about depression and its treatments. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.