Depression and dementia in rural general practice: a preliminary view of knowledge among general practitioners

Helmes, E., Campbell, A., Beaune, B.T., and Pain, T.W. (2009) Depression and dementia in rural general practice: a preliminary view of knowledge among general practitioners. In: Proceedings of the First Joint Conference of the APS Psychology & Ageing Interest Group (PAIG) and the Royal Australia/New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age (FPOA), p. 195. From: First Joint Conference of the APS Psychology & Ageing Interest Group (PAIG) and the Royal Australia/New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age (FPOA), 12-14 November 2009, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

General practitioners provide the most common access paint for psychological services for older adults. The system for funding for psychological services by the Australian Medicare system can provide treatment for psychological conditions, such as depression, among older adults. Estimates concerning the prevalence of depression among older adults vary widely depending on the diagnostic criteria used, but effective treatment for depression among older adults still does not reach all cases. This is particularly true in regional Australia, where resources for general practitioners for the treatment of disorders common among older adults are less common than in urban centres. This prsliminary study identifies gaps in knowledge among general practitioners in northern Queensland with regard to the differentiation of depression from dementia in older adults. This distinction is important because of the different treatments for the two conditions. Participants were 13 general practitioners in Ingham, Ayr and Townsville who completed a semi structured interview. All practices had from 30 to 60% of their patients over 65 years. Results indicated a need for more information on both depression and dementia and relevant treatment options for both. Some practitioners use the screening measures of the Over 75 Health Check, but relatively little use was made of screening tests for either cognitive change or depression. Laboratory tests were used systematically. Only one practitioner had any training at all on the distinction of depression from dementia, but more had specific training in the identification and treatment of depression. There was a high level of interest in further training on the discrimination of depression from dementia. Other relevant issues included a Jack of time in their practices for more refined assessment, the need for continuing education credits for further training, and better access to relevant specialists. There was also a high degree of interest in better interdisciplinary cooperation and for advanced training provided by specialist psychologists in screening for dementia and depression. Discussion focuses on options for improving access to psychological services for older adults In regional and rural Australia.

Item ID: 7877
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: depression; dementia; general practice; diagnosis
ISSN: 978-0-909881-40-5
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2010 03:09
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1702 Cognitive Science > 170202 Decision Making @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920209 Mental Health Services @ 100%
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