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Open Access Research article

More age-care staff report helping care recipients following a brief depression awareness raising intervention

Joanna Atkins1*, Sharon L Naismith2, Georgina M Luscombe3 and Ian B Hickie1

Author Affiliations

1 Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 94 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia

2 Clinical Research Unit, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 94 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia

3 School of Rural Health, and Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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BMC Nursing 2013, 12:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-12-10

Published: 5 April 2013



Those working with elderly care recipients require a good working knowledge of depression and appropriate help giving responses. While it is important for age-care staff to recognize depression in care recipients it is also critical that they know the appropriate course of action to assist a care recipient who may be depressed. This study aims to determine the knowledge of age-care staff of appropriate help giving responses, their confidence in knowing what kind of assistance to provide and their actual likelihood of providing help to potentially depressed care recipients and to examine if these measures improve following an intervention training program.


One hundred and two age-care staff were surveyed on their confidence in helping age-care recipients and on their knowledge of appropriate ways to provide assistance. Staff then participated in a two hour depression awareness raising intervention. The survey was repeated immediately following the training and again six months later.


Staff confidence in knowing how to provide assistance increased significantly subsequent to training and remained significantly improved at the six month follow up. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of staff reported helping care recipients at the six month follow up.


This study highlights the potential of a brief staff training program to provide a cost effective means to improve staff self-confidence and increase the likelihood of staff providing assistance to depressed care recipients.

Depression; Older people; Intervention