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Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities (silver book)

Geriatric Depression Scale

The Geriatric Depression Scale is used to identify depression in older people in hospital, aged care home and community settings. The 15 item version is most widely used with self report or informant report, and takes 5/10 minutes to complete. Sensitivity ranges from 79/100%. Specificity ranges from 67/80%. It is suitable for use with residents with a Mini-Mental Status score of more than 14. It has questionable accuracy when used to detect minor depression. The Geriatric Depression Scale is available in many languages and can be downloaded from www.stanford.edu/%7Eyesavage/GDS.html Calculate the total score by adding up the ticks in bold (right hand column). Each scores one point. Scores greater than 5 suggest the presence of depression.

Geriatric Depression Scal

Answers in bold indicate depression. Although differing sensitivities and specificities have been obtained across studies, for clinical purposes a score >5 points is suggestive of depression and should warrant a follow up interview. Scores >10 are almost always depression.

Source: Sheik JI, Yesavage JA. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): recent evidence and development of a shorter version. In: Brink TL, editor. Clinical gerontology: a guide to assessment and intervention. New York: Haworth Press, 1986

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