Public Release: 

Project to develop depression care for older adults

University of California - Davis Health System

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) --UC Davis and the University of Washington are implementing a project to develop innovative new models of care for depression in older adults through a $2.5 million grant from the California-based Archstone Foundation, a private grant-making organization whose mission is to contribute toward the preparation of society in meeting the needs of an aging population. The grant launches Archstone Foundation's Depression in Late Life Initiative to improve the quality of life for older adults suffering from depression.

The work of this grant is based on a one-year systematic review of the literature and current practice. It will advance care for late-life depression by supporting innovative approaches to promote partnership and collaboration among primary care clinics, family members, friends and community-based organizations. Through the Archstone Foundation's Depression in Late Life Initiative, a number of organizations will also be funded to carry out this effort in California.

Depression is common among older adults and comes at a high cost to patients and their families. Major depression affects 2 to 5 percent of older adults in the community, 5 to 10 percent of older adults in primary-care settings, and as many as 50 percent in nursing homes.

The UC Davis group will be led by Ladson Hinton, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a nationally recognized expert in minority mental health and aging. Hinton is the director of the Latino Aging Research Resource Center and the education core of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center. The University of Washington group is led by Jürgen Unützer, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, and the developer of the Improving Mood-Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT) model, the leading collaborative care program for late-life depression, which has been implemented in more than 500 clinics around the country.

"This initiative will help build on the success of collaborative care and include important partners, such as family members and community-based organizations," Hinton said.

"While we have evidence-based treatments for depression in primary care, such as collaborative care, very little work has been done to mobilize community agencies (i.e. adult-day health programs, senior centers, meals on wheels, faith-based organizations) and families to help in the process," he said. "Archstone Foundation's Depression in Late Life Initiative addresses this important gap in the field, and may also help to engage groups at risk for under-treatment of their depression, such as ethnic minority elders and older men."

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UC Davis Health System improves health and health care, around the corner and across the globe. Diverse in expertise but united in purpose, UC Davis faculty, staff and students collaborate daily to solve urgent real-world problems, translate research into new cures and eliminate health disparities. Whether treating complex injuries, improving cancer care or explaining autism, UC Davis Health System's unique combination of academic excellence and social responsibility advances health for all. For more information, visit healthsystem.ucdavis.edu.

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