Moving into a nursing home facility in New York is often a major life change for older people who are becoming dependent on others for care. However, the increase in health needs may make the choice inevitable. In their new living environment, seniors may require mental health care in addition to the medical attention they receive for their physical ailments.
According to the New York State Department of Health, a number of screening tools must be used to ensure that each resident’s mental, intellectual and cognitive health needs are met as well as the physical needs. These assessment methods should be used in an ongoing attempt to provide the best possible quality of life.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States reports that some nursing home residents may not be getting the individualized treatment that the federal government mandates. As many as 50 percent of those who live in long-term care facilities have depressive symptoms. Most of these are being treated with antidepressants, even though the medications increase the risk of falls and other health issues. Researchers discovered that the mental health of many residents is not improved with drugs.
In one study, residents who did not respond to antidepressants were provided with social activities similar to the ones they had enjoyed while living independently. These subjects displayed positive results during the course of the study, but returned to their depressive states after the activities were discontinued. Unfortunately, many facilities lack the resources for this type of individualized nonpharmacological treatment. As a result, the one-size-fits-all approach of antidepressants continues to be the most common method of dealing with depression for seniors.