Reducing symptoms of depression in older Australians


Monday, 15 January, 2024

Reducing symptoms of depression in older Australians

A new model of care that aims to reduce symptoms of depression in older people will be trialled in Victoria.

Enhanced Management of home-Based Elders with Depression — or EMBED — was developed by in-home health and aged care provider Silverchain. It is an innovative model of care that aims to facilitate early detection and use of evidence-based treatment of depression in older Australians who receive home aged care.

The pilot will deliver psychological treatments using telehealth, while home care clients will also have the option of using a tablet to access a range of digital resources to support their emotional wellbeing. This technology was co-designed in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology, with funding from Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA).

“The availability of purpose-designed technology to enable aged providers to improve the wellbeing of home care clients is an exciting development,” said Adjunct Professor Tanya Davison, Director of Research Discovery at Silverchain.

“We have worked closely with our home care clients and our academic partners to develop an approach that provides older people with support and resources to address symptoms of depression.”

Davison said the pilot would first be undertaken in the Melbourne metropolitan area with existing Silverchain in-home aged care clients in January 2024, before being extended to other states where Silverchain provides in-home aged care.

“The development of the EMBED model of care was in response to evidence that rates of depression are rising among older people who receive aged care services at home,” Davison said.

“Despite this, aged care staff are mostly not trained to recognise or manage symptoms of depression. In addition, access to mental health services for older Australians with depression is generally poor.

“To address these gaps, from client and staffing perspectives, our industry–academic partnerships developed the EMBED model of care and supporting technology to improve detection and treatment of depression in home aged care, and to address the dual stigma of mental health and aging that are barriers to care.

“By working together with home care recipients, their families and caregivers, we are designing care solutions to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.”

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