Depression is a common cause and consequence of ill health in old people. It hinders rehabilitation and hastens death, yet the diagnosis is often missed in medical wards.
Screening questionnaires such as the geriatric depression scale (GDS) help with recognising depression, which can then be assessed for treatment. The brief assessment schedule (BAS) was used successfully by lay interviewers to screen for depression among residents of old people's homes. In a typical hospital ward, however, the questions are too easily overheard.
We compare the GDS with a novel adaptation of the depression scale of the BAS as a deck of cards (BASDEC, BAS depression cards) in screening geriatric inpatients for depression.
Method and results
BASDEC comprises 19 cards, 8.2 cm x 10.4 cm, with statements derived from the depression scale of the BAS in large black print on a white background. They are presented one at a time, to be answered "True" or "False" according to the subject's present feelings. Every response of true gains one point, except "I've given up hope" and "I've seriously considered...