Efficacy of the Geriatric Depression Scale-30 and 15 for Elderly Patients in a Primary Care Setting




Banh, Debini
Davis, Sandra


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The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) was developed to be used as a screening tool specifically for the geriatric population and categorizes patients into no depression, mild depression, moderate depression, and severe depression based on their total scores (Yesavage, 1982). The original GDS-30 (30 survey items) was shortened to GDS-15 (15 survey items) in hopes of maintaining the efficacy in a shorter administration time. The prevalence of geriatric depression is estimated to be about 15-20% of patients (Mitchell). Unfortunately, many of the elderly also believe that they do not need help managing their depression, and thus do not seek help from their primary care physicians (Brenes). Properly screening all patients for depression with a shortened GDS may reduce the number of depression cases missed during the yearly health exams compared to purely relying on patients' reports of their symptoms. The data were collected from the one hundred forty-two patients' first visit over a 12 month period from June 2019 to June 2020. We concluded that the GDS-15 is an easier way to screen all geriatric patients for depression while patients wait to begin the clinic visit with their physician. Further studies will focus on the treatment plan for the mild, moderate, and severe depression as defined by the GDS-30 and GDS-15.