Aims and objectives: To examine the depressive symptoms of older residents at nursing homes and the relationship between their depressive symptoms and certain selected variables.
Background: Depression has become a major healthcare concern among the older people, but nursing home-based studies on risk factors of depression have still hardly been well performed in Taiwan.
Design: A cross-sectional design was developed and implemented.
Methods: A research sample of 138 older residents was recruited from eight nursing homes located in southern Taiwan. During face-to-face interviews, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, Social Support Scale, Chronic Condition Checklist and Socio-demographic Inventory were used for data collection.
Results: The results showed that 81.8% of those residents were identified as being depressed. It was further discovered that the length of residency, number of chronic conditions, perceived health status and the amount of social support from their family and relatives could explain 38.8% of the total variances in depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that, in Taiwan, older people who live in nursing homes suffer from more depressive symptoms than those in community dwellings. To maintain and improve the health status for the elderly as much as possible, it is suggested that healthcare providers at nursing homes should develop an effective health promotion program for these older peoples.
Relevance to clinical practice: There exists a high rate of depressive symptoms among older residents at nursing homes. It is imperative that a proper identification and its correspondent treatment for this health problem on the older residents are required. In late life, to maintain a higher level of quality of life, it is important to suggest that the health providers should regularly screen older people to increase the likelihood of diagnosis and improved treatment of late-life depressive symptoms.