Using Telehealth to Treat Depression in Elderly Patients

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Using Telehealth to Treat Depression in Elderly Patients

Elderly persons are more likely to experience more severe, debilitating forms of depression, particularly if they have a lower sense of self-worth. The stigmatization of mental illness, as well as a decreased sense of self-worth, can exacerbate symptoms in the elderly. Caregivers of older people often experience this negative impact on a patient’s quality of life. On the other hand, caregivers usually feel helpless and unable to assist their loved ones adequately.

Behavioral health care services were one of the categories considered non-emergent during COVID-19’s peak in 2020. COVID-19 required social distancing at healthcare facilities, even if patients were non-emergent. Remote health care management – like depression care management – was deemed more appropriate for telehealth visits, causing an increase in telehealth visits. The consequences of untreated depression on the elderly are profound. Depression can significantly impair a person’s quality of life, from profound functional and cognitive changes to decreased vitality and mobility.

Elderly individuals are at an increased risk for depression, and being stigmatized for mental illness, they are more likely to suffer more debilitating manifestations. In addition to the stigma associated with mental illness, another factor that can compound symptoms of depression in the elderly is a reduced sense of self-worth. Caregivers of elderly people often suffer from this negative impact on a patient’s quality of life. Caregivers often cannot adequately assist their loved ones and feel helpless and helpless.

How to Recognize Late-Life Depression 

Depression affects millions of people worldwide, even those 65 and older. People with depression may feel depressed, sad, and hopeless and have decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that older, homebound, and disabled individuals have more significant socioeconomic disadvantages and depressive symptoms than their peers.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1-5% of older individuals per region are affected by major depression. Hospital patients aged 65+ (11.5%) and individuals who rely on home health care (13.5%) are also at risk. The root cause of depression in older adults is isolation due to mobility issues and lack of support. In addition, depression significantly affects the growing generation of older people, which must be acknowledged and treated effectively.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness can provide clinicians, family members, and caregivers valuable insights into late-life depression signs. Social, environmental, and biological factors that influence the onset of depression in older people may also cause symptoms to vary by age. Confusion, social withdrawal, and decreased appetite are common symptoms in older people.

The Role of Technology in Depression Treatment

Modern technology allows virtual consultations and appointments for therapy or medication prescription. Remote depression care treats particular populations lacking access to care, such as rural individuals.

Doctors are using telemedicine to address the problem of limited access to depression treatment. Telemedicine, in particular, ensures that elderly patients get quality mental health care regardless of their mobility levels or geographic locations.

Depression Treatment Using Telemedicine by Doctors in the Elderly

Telehealth has changed the quality of mental health care in countries worldwide. Connected health applications, video conferencing, and direct text messaging tools make it possible for clinicians to reach patients in underserved areas and satisfy their behavioral health needs remotely.

Outcomes Of Telehealth Treatment in Depression Patients.

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A recent study looked at the role of Home Health Care (HHC) agencies in transporting homebound elderly patients to telehealth-based depression care programs. The data was drawn from a survey of 516 NAHC staff members and others.

Several survey responses highlighted a positive or neutral perception of telehealth. In addition to providing patient care, telehealth may also facilitate conditions by providing medical care in the same setting as patients or an alternative care setting.

As per the result, 32% confirmed their knowledge of telehealth, and 25% expressed that they had resources that allowed them to use telehealth. Those with telehealth integrations who saw the platform as a positive influence were among the most likely to use telehealth for depression care. The main reasons for their intention to use telehealth were social and facilitative conditions.

The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) sponsored a clinical trial for over seventy psychiatric patients at home. Researchers compared virtual mental health services for elderly, homebound patients with signs of depression.

Telehealth can provide essential and accessible mental health treatment to individuals with late-life depression in medically underserved areas. The good thing about telehealth is that it allows for accessible and necessary treatment for older, low-income individuals with late-life depression. Telehealth is used as a mental health and psychiatric care management method by the day. There is a bright future ahead with telehealth used for psychological and psychiatric care.

Because of its numerous benefits, telemedicine has the potential to revolutionize the field of elderly mental health care,  is a leading provider of virtual healthcare solutions which is HIPAA compliant and offers free video conferencing, two-way text messaging, EHR integration, and cloud-based data storage easily accessible from anywhere. We provide a range of patient-engagement tools that make for a hassle-free telehealth experience. Providers have access to the necessary infrastructure for better patient care and outcomes for the underserved population of older people. Learn more about us here.

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