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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fighting the Blues: Depression in Long-term Care

This past Monday, January 16th, was Blue Monday – supposedly the most depressing day of the year. However, for many residents who have recently moved into long-term care facilities, every day is a “blue” day.

Moving into a nursing home or residential care setting can be a very difficult experience for some individuals. Some common pervasive thoughts that many people experience after moving into a long-term care facility include:
  • This is the end of the road
  • There is no hope
  • I’m losing my independence
  • I’m going to lose the support of my family and friends
Along with the transition to long-term care, a resident may be dealing with complicated health problems, be on a number of different medications and have experienced other recent losses in their life. These factors put them at a higher risk for developing depression, especially in the first couple of months after moving.

Early detection of depression is critical to treatment, so healthcare professionals must be vigilant in screening for depression. Tools such as the Geriatric Depression Scale, a short test which uses simple questions and answers, can be used to monitor mood1.

The Geriatric Depression Scale can be accessed here:

For more information on depression in long-term care, visit the J.W. Crane Memorial Library’s research guide here:

1Depression in long-term care. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2017 from

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When is it time to move to long-term care?

Canadians often dread a move to long-term care (LTC). However, individuals living with dementia will likely need this type of care at some point during the course of their disease. In fact, 57% of seniors living in a residential care home have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and/or other dementia1 and 70% of all individuals diagnosed with dementia will die in a nursing home2.
The Alzheimer Society has an obligation to support a better experience of moving to and living in LTC for everyone – individuals with dementia, their family and staff. That’s why they’ve launched a new resource to help individuals living with dementia and their families through the many complex issues involved in moving to long-term care.
This resource includes a four piece set of evidence based resources to support families and individuals with dementia as they:
  1. Consider a move to long-term care
  2. Prepare for a move
  3. Handle moving day
  4. Adjust after a move
Each of the four resources can be downloaded in English at and in French at from the Alzheimer Society of Canada website.

Canadian Institute for Health Information, Caring for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia, August 2010.
Mitchell S, Teno J, Miller S, Mor V: A national study of the location of death for older persons with dementia.  JAGS 2005, 53:299-305

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Dementia Language Guidelines

Developed by Alzheimer’s Australia, this hand-out sets forth appropriate language guidelines for talking about dementia, including language for talking about:
People with dementia

  • Carers, families, etc.
  • People with dementia under 65
  • Behavioural and psychological symptom of dementia
  • People with dementia in research
  • The hand-out also provides a handy chart listing preferred terms, and terms that should not be used.
This resource can be accessed here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Physical Environments for Long-term Care: Ideas Worth Sharing

Published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in November 2016, this book provides examples of promising practices for physical environments in long-term residential care. Based on over 500 interviews gathered during a research project funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the European Research Area on Aging Project, the book focuses on the complex relationship between the physical environment (location, space, features, etc.) and what goes on within it.

You can access this resource here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Making a difference in dementia, nursing vision and strategy: Refreshed edition

Building on the original strategy published by the U.K. Department of Health, this document sets out how nurses can provide high quality compassionate care and support for people with dementia. The strategy outlines the principles of compassionate practice and outlines the role of education and research in dementia nursing practice. While the document is UK based, it provides a clear and succinct summary of the issues and also provides an excellent list of documents and resources.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

From the Hospital to Long-Term Care: Protect Vulnerable Patients During Handoff

This article discusses the issue of medication errors that occur during the transition from a hospital to an LTC facility. It provides background on the issue, as well as safe practice recommendations for improving communication of accurate and appropriate medication therapy as patients transition to an LTC facility.

You can access this article by clicking here:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Knowing you’re not alone: Understanding peer support for stroke survivors

Stroke Association Voluntary Groups (SAVGs) are volunteer-led, peer support groups based in local communities across the UK. The Nuffield Trust was commissioned by the Stroke Association to independently evaluate the impact of the groups. This document describes the evaluation which drew on the experiences and views of stroke survivors and carers from local groups as well as Stroke Association staff and volunteers. The study included a questionnaire of stroke survivors and carers which captured self-reported measures of health and wellbeing, as well as interviews and focus groups with stroke survivors, carers, staff and volunteers.

The study results, as well as a summary, are available from the following link: