Depressive symptoms in long term care facilities in Western Canada: A cross sectional study

Matthias Hoben, Abigail Heninger, Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, Jennifer Knopp-Sihota, Carole Estabrooks, Zahra Goodarzi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The main objective is to better understand the prevalence of depressive symptoms, in long-Term care (LTC) residents with or without cognitive impairment across Western Canada. Secondary objectives are to examine comorbidities and other factors associated with of depressive symptoms, and treatments used in LTC. Methods: 11,445 residents across a random sample of 91 LTC facilities, from 09/2014 to 05/2015, were stratified by owner-operator model (private for-profit, public or voluntary not-for-profit), size (small: < 80 beds, medium: 80-120 beds, large > 120 beds), location (Calgary and Edmonton Health Zones, Alberta; Fraser and Interior Health Regions, British Columbia; Winnipeg Health Region, Manitoba). Random intercept generalized linear mixed models with depressive symptoms as the dependent variable, cognitive impairment as primary independent variable, and resident, care unit and facility characteristics as covariates were used. Resident variables came from the Resident Assessment Instrument-Minimum Data Set (RAI-MDS) 2.0 records (the RAI-MDS version routinely collected in Western Canadian LTC). Care unit and facility variables came from surveys completed with care unit or facility managers. Results: Depressive symptoms affects 27.1% of all LTC residents and 23.3% of LTC resident have both, depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment. Hypertension, urinary and fecal incontinence were the most common comorbidities. Cognitive impairment increases the risk for depressive symptoms (adjusted odds ratio 1.65 [95% confidence interval 1.43; 1.90]). Pain, anxiety and pulmonary disorders were also significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Pharmacologic therapies were commonly used in those with depressive symptoms, however there was minimal use of non-pharmacologic management. Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are common in LTC residents-particularly in those with cognitive impairment. Depressive symptoms are an important target for clinical intervention and further research to reduce the burden of these illnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number335
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec. 2019


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Inter-RAI
  • Long term care


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