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Depressed older men have more hospital admissions, longer stays (Australia)

January 25, 2013

A recent Australian study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that older men with higher depressive scores were more likely to visit hospital emergency departments for non-psychiatric conditions, more likely to be admitted and more likely to have longer lengths of stay, than non-depressed men.

Australian researchers studied more than 5,400 men ages 69 years or more who were enrolled in the “Health in Men Study.” Men with a baseline score of seven or more based on the Geriatric Depression Scale were followed for two years and monitored for hospital visits, admissions, reason for visit/admission, length of stay and inpatient death.

Of 339 men identified as depressed, almost 49 per cent of them had at least one hospital ER visit for non-psychiatric reasons, compared to 23 per cent of non-depressed men. Furthermore, depressed men had more hospital admissions, longer lengths of stay and worse hospital outcomes.

Authors conclude that the presence of depression in older men poses a risk factor, and highlights the need for preventative measures to relieve the emotional and financial burden of mental illness in this demographic group.

You can read the abstract, “Association between depression and hospital outcomes among older men on the CMAJ website.

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