Publication Date

Spring 2016

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Sylvia Miller

Second Advisor

Christine Johnston

Third Advisor

Gabrielle Poppa


Screening for depression risk, Depression


This descriptive study examined undiagnosed depression in the elderly and how it affects the elderly from retaining healthcare education. It is estimated by 2029, 20% of the United States population will be age 65 and older (Colby & Ortman, 2014). Depression in the elderly who have chronic diseases, is estimated to be undiagnosed up to 40% (Chaoyang et al., 2009). A hallmark symptom of depression is the inability to concentrate. It is unknown if undiagnosed depression will affect the older adult from retaining pertinent healthcare education. The 30 point Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) was administered to a class of elderly individuals, aged 65 years and older. A nutrition class was subsequently taught to the participants. Following the nutrition class, a quiz on the class material was administered to measure retention of the nutritional information. The aim of the study was to determine if higher scores on the GDS, or a positive screening for the risk of depression, would result in lower scores on the nutrition quiz. The scores analyzed as a two tailed Person's correlation, were discovered to be statistically significant at the 0.01 level. The sigma of depression in the setting site contributed to a small sample size. This project has shown the need for increased screening for the risk of depression in the elderly as the elderly cannot retain healthcare education if they are depressed.


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