COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative: Research

Depression In Community Residing Elders (DIRE): A Rapid Review of Depression Telemedicine Interventions for Older Adults Living in the Community

Key Messages

Depression is the single most common mental illness in older adults and worsens people’s day to day lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these conditions are exacerbated because physical distancing leaves older adults without access to treatment. Our study found 14 articles that examined the effect of telehealth interventions on depression or depressive symptoms in older adults. We will do further research to find any other telehealth treatments for depression, and determine which interventions are most effective.

Lay Summary

We found that treatments most commonly consisted of internet cognitive behavioural therapy, telephone cognitive behavioural therapy or telephone psychotherapy. These treatments involved patients doing weekly modules focused on developing skills to address mood symptoms. In some cases, patients received weekly phone calls or emails from psychologists or counsellors to help them work through their therapy work. Many studies noted benefit from these treatments. Knowing which treatments are best will allow us to inform patients, doctors, and health care teams about how to best use these services, which will reduce the burden of depression in older adults.

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mental health
  • Mood disorders
  • Older adults
  • Seniors
  • Elderly
  • Telehealth
  • Virtual care
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

Author(s)

  • Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Zahra Goodarzi, MD, MSc, FRCPC, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Zahra Goodarzi, MD, MSc, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Jennifer Watt, MD, PhD, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Julia Kirkham, MD, MSc, Queens University
  • Dr. Dallas Seitz, MD, PhD, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Zahinoor Ismail, MD, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Andrea Tricco, PhD, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Sharon Straus, MD, MSc, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Areti Angeliki Veroniki, PhD, University of Ioannina

For more information, please contact: Dr. Zahra Goodarzi, zahra.goodarzi@albertahealthservices.ca

Related Syntheses

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Population

Chronic Disease and/or Mental Illness, Aging

Language

To ensure the rapid dissemination of this critical information, information is published in the language in which it was submitted. Please contact us for French or English translations.

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