International Psychogeriatrics

Guest Editorial

Preventing major depression in older medical inpatients: innovation or flight of fancy?

Martin G. Colea1

a1 Department of Psychiatry, St Mary's Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, and Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Email:

Major depression in older medical inpatients is frequent, persistent, and disabling (Cole and Bellavance, 1997). The incidence is 20.5%–30.2% during the 12 months following admission to hospital (Fenton et al., 1997; Cole et al., 2008). Up to 73% of patients have a protracted course (Koenig et al., 1992; Cole et al., 2006; Koenig, 2006). Moreover, major depression in older medical inpatients appears to be associated with decreased function (Covinsky et al., 1997), increased use of health care services (Koenig et al., 1989; Büla et al., 2001), increased caregiver burden (McCusker et al., 2007), and possibly increased mortality (Cole, 2007).