Depression affects about one-third of hospital patients and could slow their recovery, researchers report.
Their review of 20 studies on depression screening in hospitals showed that 33 percent of patients had symptoms of depression.
Patients with depression are less likely to take their medications and keep all recommended appointments after leaving the hospital, potentially leading to longer hospital stays and an increased risk of readmission, according to study lead author Dr. Waguih William IsHak. He’s an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The findings underscore the importance of screening hospital patients for depression, he said.
“Upon admission to the hospital, patients are screened for all kinds of medical issues such as abnormalities in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar,” IsHak said in a medical center news release. “Adding a screening for depression seizes a golden opportunity to initiate and maintain treatment.”
Depression is a serious factor in any patient’s recovery, he said. “These findings show that hospitals might experience improved outcomes by initiating a depression screening program,” he added.
The study was published recently in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on depression.