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Depression in Long-Term Care


  • Lee Hyer

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Brian Carpenter, Washington University in St. Louis Dori Bishmann, Private Practice, Madison, WI Ho-Shyuan Wu, UMDNJ
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Address correspondence to Lee Hyer, Professor of Psychiatry, UMDNJ, 671 Old Hoes Ln., Piscataway, NJ 08854. E-mail:


The assessment and treatment of depression in long-term care (LTC) settings poses unique challenges to both clinicians and researchers. In this review we discuss the variety of forms depression can take among LTC residents and the influence the LTC environment can play on the development and maintenance of depression. We describe instruments that can be used to assess depressive symptoms, along with their strengths and liabilities. Additionally, we summarize treatment approaches, with an emphasis on the relatively limited number of empirically informed interventions. Throughout, we describe modifications that may improve the accuracy of assessment and the effectiveness of psychological treatments. Depression, while common among LTC residents, appears amenable to psychological intervention, although the field is far from identifying empirically supported treatments in the LTC setting.