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Use of Telemedicine to Care for Older Veterans With Depression

Article

Telemedicine could increase access to best-practice care for older adults with major depression who are facing barriers of mobility, stigma, and geographical isolation, and a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry compared treatment response delivered via telemedicine with same-room care.

Telemedicine could increase access to best-practice care for older adults with major depression who are facing barriers of mobility, stigma, and geographical isolation, and a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry compared treatment response to care via telemedicine with same-room care in largely male, older adult veterans.

The investigators screened 780 patients, who were randomly assigned to either telemedicine or same-room treatment. According to the findings of the study, treatment response according to the Geriatric Depression Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, clinician version, did not differ significantly between the telemedicine and same-room groups.

"Telemedicine-delivered psychotherapy for older adults with major depression is not inferior to same-room treatment. This finding shows that evidence-based psychotherapy can be delivered, without modification, via home-based telemedicine, and that this method can be used to overcome barriers to care associated with distance from and difficulty with attendance at in-person sessions in older adults."

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