Depression in the community dwelling elderly: Do clinical and sociodemographic factors influence referral to psychiatry?
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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the reasons why depressed elderly patients are referred to the old age psychiatric services. Reasons for referral of depressed younger patients have been clarified however they may not be generalisable to an older population. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to examine which clinical and sociodemographic factors influence referral of patients with late life depression from primary care. METHODS: Twenty-eight people were identified with depression in a day hospital referred by their general practitioner. These were compared with fifty-two people with depression in the community who had not been referred to the psychiatric services. RESULTS: Having a more severe depression (p = 0.0016) and having co-morbid anxiety (p = 0.0017) meant you were more likely to be referred to the day hospital. Gender did not appear to influence referral from general practitioners. CONCLUSIONS: It appears that severity of depression and having higher levels of anxiety make it more likely that you will be referred by your general practitioner to the old age psychiatry services.
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