The use of technology for mental healthcare delivery among older adults with depressive symptoms: A systematic literature review
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Depression has been identified as the single largest contributor to poor health and functioning worldwide. Global estimates indicate that 4.4% of the world's population lives with depression, equating to about 322 million individuals. Research demonstrates that telehealth interventions (i.e. delivering therapy by phone or videoconferencing) have potential for improving mental health care among community-based older adults. This review analyses scholarly literature on telehealth interventions among older adults with depressive symptoms. Following PRISMA guidelines, a systematic search of peer-reviewed papers was conducted using the following key terms: telemedicine, telepsychogeriatrics, telepsychiatry, eHealth, mental health, depression, and geriatric. The review included nine articles examining telehealth for mental health care, published in English between 1946 and 26 September 2017. Telehealth for mental health care among older adults demonstrates a significant impact on health outcomes, including reduced emergency visits, hospital admissions, and depressive symptoms, as well as improved cognitive functioning. Positive or negative influences on the use of telehealth among older adults are identified. This review highlights keys aspects to consider in using telehealth interventions, including levels of education, cognitive function, and prior technology experience. The review highlights vital factors for designing interventions which aim to capitalize on the benefits of the use of telehealth for mental healthcare service delivery, especially in older adults with depressive symptoms.
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