Many older adults are affected by mental health disorders. However, despite the prevalence of these disorders many of them go without treatment. In addition to this, it can be difficult to identify the symptoms of certain disorders, further complicating the issue. Therefore, there is an opportunity for improvement in advanced practice nurses understanding of how to use evidence based mental health screening tools to detect mental health disorders in older adults.
Advanced practice nurses need to be aware of the evidence-based screening tools that are available and be able to distinguish between the tools to screen for mild cognitive impairment and dementia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. APN’s also need to be able to assess patients and implement these tools.
Mental health issues are very common in older adults. In fact, according to the CDC, 25% of people age 65years or older experience some type of mental health issue (CDC, 2013). Due to the increased risk of suicide when a mental health concern is present, mental health is becoming more and more of a priority in older adult care (Conejero, Olié, Courtet, & Calati, 2018). Nevertheless, there is still an issue with diagnosis due to the complex presentation of symptoms. To address this matter, there needs to be increased knowledge surrounding mental health screening tools and the way to effectively use them to identify mental health disorders in older adults.
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