Nurses Need Help Detecting Depression

LEICESTER, England, Oct. 5 (UPI) — A British researcher says nurses are not detecting the depression in the majority of their patients.

Dr. Alex Mitchell of the University of Leicester in England says his studies indicate nursing staff have “considerable difficulty” detecting depression and distress in patients.


They correctly identified about four out of 10 people in hospitals or nursing homes with depression. Nurses in primary care correctly identified only one in four people with depression.

“In terms of dealing with distress and depression, nursing staff are probably the most important group of health professionals,” Mitchell says in a statement. “Nurses are often very capable of forming good therapeutic relationships and provide a great deal of psychological support which is highly valued. However their ability to do this is increasingly under-pressure from high workloads and little funding for professional development.”

Mitchell, also a consultant in psycho-oncology at Leicestershire Partnership Trust, calls for short, simple methods — rather than complex criteria — to identify mood problems as a way of providing targeted and appropriate treatment for patients.

He says his team is currently working on short, simple methods to identify mood problems which should be available at www.psycho-oncology.info.

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