S68: PANEL PRESENTATIONS: Mental Health in Older Adults

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By December 15, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Andrew Clement, Emma Underwood, Tamara Northey, Ananthalakshmi Iyer, Duha Gide, Sarira El-Den, Natasa Gisev, Kevin Ou, Lisa Kouladjian O'Donnell, Claire O'Reilly

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: older adults, covid, peer work, services

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: PANEL PRESENTATION: Older People's Mental Health Service Consumer Peer Workforce Pilot Evaluation Report
Andrew Clement, Emma Underwood, Tamara Northey

Enhancement of the Consumer Peer Workforce has been a strategic driver in mental health services in recent years. This initiative has been more challenging for Older People's Mental Health Services (OPMHS) given the complexity often associated with older consumers. This report evaluated the initiation of a dedicated OPMHS Consumer Peer Worker (CPW) program in Northern Sydney Local Health District following a successful submission for NSW Ministry of Health COVID funding in 2020. The initial recruitment target was for a small team of peer workers working across four community teams and an inpatient unit. The objectives of the project were to (i) Gain an understanding of the unique nature of the CPW role in OPMHS (ii) Understand the impact of the positions on the experiences of older consumers and their carers and (iii) Understand the impact of the roles on clinical practice and service delivery. The evaluation utilised a mixed method approach incorporating quantitative and qualitative measures as well as staff surveys. Contributions from the OPMHS Consumer Peer Workforce provided valuable insights into what was working well and areas identified for improvement. The evaluation results demonstrated an overwhelming support for the program across a number of domains. Whilst the initial funding tranche was temporary the positions have now been made permanent.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Effects of telehealth mental health services for worsening mood, and anxiety in older adults
Ananthalakshmi Iyer

The COVID-19 pandemic was of concern to older adults as they had been found to be vulnerable to increased social disconnectedness (Wand et al., 2020) which in turn predicts higher depression, and anxiety symptoms (Santini et al., 2020).
In Western Sydney, NSW, older adults were noted to be experiencing worsening sleep, anxiety and mood during the lockdown in July to December 2021. The Older People’s Mental Health (OPMH) Team in Western Sydney attempted to address these concerns, by increasing telehealth psychology sessions, promoting coping strategies and maintaining access to mental health care. The psychologist sits in a multidisciplinary team, lending to an integrated care model. 15 consumers were supported by the psychologist.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions were offered to consumers. Additionally, sessions were offered to build necessary technological skills (i.e., how to set up phone or video sessions, scanning codes when entering facilities, etc.). Qualitative findings were collected through self-report.
Consumers reported improvements to their mood, anxiety and social connectedness, however reported difficulty in learning new technological skills as there was no in-person support.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 lockdown posed unique mental health challenges for older adults. The OPMH team addressed this by providing integrated care including tailored psychology telehealth sessions to consumers.

PANEL PRESENTATION: The development of a community pharmacist-delivered depression screening and referral model for older adults.
Duha Gide, Sarira El-Den, Natasa Gisev, Kevin Ou, Lisa Kouladjian O'Donnell, Claire O'Reilly

Introduction: Approximately 10-15% of older adults (≥65 years) in Australia experience late-life depression (LLD). Pharmacists are ideally placed to deliver depression screening for older adults.
Aim: To develop a community pharmacist-delivered depression screening and referral model for older adults.
Method: Semi-structured interviews with community pharmacists (n=15) informed the development of a training package involving Mental Health First Aid training and additional modules on the identification, screening (using the Geriatric Depression Scale-15) and management of LLD, including referral procedures. The training package was pilot tested at a pharmacist conference in 2020 (n=124), then refined for broader implementation. Pre/post questionnaires explored the impact of the training package on knowledge, attitudes, confidence and acceptability regarding depression screening.
Results: Community pharmacies in study regions (Hunter New England and Western Sydney) were recruited through professional pharmacist organisations (n=22). Training was conducted in 2020-2022, after which trained pharmacists used purpose-designed online forms to record screening interventions, follow-ups, and outcomes.
Discussion: As part of this pilot study, a training package was successfully developed which ensured the provision of pertinent training for pharmacist-delivered screening for LLD. Completing the training improved pharmacists’ confidence in depression screening. Hence, this study may facilitate the early detection of LLD through pharmacist-delivered screening.

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