Date of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Carolyn Coleman

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Mrs. Sarilyn Freeman

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice


Depression is a severe global health problem (Almond, 2009; Brewis et al., 2018; Liu et al., 2019). According to the World Health Organization [WHO] (2020), depression is a problem that more than 264 million people suffer from. In comparison to older adults in the community, depression rates are significantly higher among older adults in long-term care. The treatment of older adults in long-term care is challenging. There are several risk factors that contribute to depression in this population, however, they are still not clear.

The purpose of this Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project was to measure the development of depression of residents while in a long-term care facility utilizing the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) 2, and if justified, the PQH 9 depression questionnaires. A single PICO guided this project, “In adults ages 65 and older (P), is the use of a screening tool for depression (I), compared with the usual standard of care (C) more accurate in detecting the development of depression (O)?”

The DNP project was conducted at one long-term care facility in a rural town in the southern part of the United States. Forty-seven (N = 47) residents were deemed eligible to participate in the project. Thirty-three (70%) participants were negative for depression according to the PHQ 2 questionnaire. There were nine (21%) participants who screened positive for depression.

These findings from this DNP project indicate the following: (1) There is a significant need for continuous screening for the development of depression in older adult patients in long-term care settings; (2) Nurses and other healthcare providers should be trained and made aware of the benefits of screening for depression and appropriately refer patients for mental health follow-up; and (3) Older patients should receive education about depression to understand the dangers of untreated depression, and the benefits of depression treatment to achieve a better quality of life.