Review of “Depression in the Elderly—Simulated Patient Small Group Activity”


  • Timothy W. Farrell MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Geriatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City
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Address correspondence to Timothy W. Farrell, Division of Geriatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, 30 N. 1900 E. AB 193 SOM, Salt Lake City, UT 84132-0001. E-mail:


This activity teaches knowledge and skills regarding the assessment and management of geriatric depression to second-year medical students. Students actively participate in a standardized patient scenario with a “collateral source,” which the authors define as a relative, friend, neighbor, healthcare power of attorney, or healthcare provider of a cognitively impaired patient who can provide additional history that might be more accurate than that obtained from the patient. Students also discuss proposed physical examination items, formulate a management plan with assistance from a handout on geriatric depression and facilitation by a faculty member, and receive feedback from the standardized patient and a “collateral source.” This activity is designed to take c approximately 2 hours to administer to small groups of learners and emphasizes that depression often presents atypically in older adults.