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22 March 2024

A Cochrane review led by Silverchain’s Director of Research Discovery Tanya Davison found promising evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies with aged care residents.

This work has informed Silverchain’s approach to supporting our older clients in the home, including the EMBED trial, which provides clients receiving in-home aged care with access to evidence-based psychological therapies.

Prof Davison noted that older people receiving aged care are at a high risk of depression, experiencing symptoms such as low mood, and lack of interest or pleasure in life.

The current treatment approach, where over 40% of all Australians aged 85 and over are prescribed mental-health related medications, is not working to address this growing problem.

In an article published in The Conversation on 20 March, Prof Davison concluded that depression should not be considered a ‘normal’ experience at this (or any other) stage or life, and those experiencing symptoms should have equal access to a range of effective treatments. More should be done to implement psychological therapies into aged care. 

After reviewing the evidence about which types of psychological therapy are effective with older adults, Prof Davison and her team at Silverchain designed a new model of care to address depression that is specifically tailored to the in-home aged care setting. 

Called EMBED (enhanced management of home-based elders with depression) this model of care provides training for the aged care workforce in how to recognise signs of depression. It also provides evidence-based psychological therapy to older people with depression, delivered remotely by mental health clinicians to enable Silverchain clients to receive treatment in their own homes.   

This innovative approach is currently being piloted in Victoria. Our care teams are taking part in an online training program to build their skills in recognising signs of depression and supporting their clients to implement psychological strategies to improve their wellbeing. Several Silverchain clients with depression have already commenced therapy with the Silverchain psychologists, and are welcoming the opportunity to talk with someone and start working towards goals that are meaningful to them. 

Following the pilot, the research team will conduct a large clinical trial to establish whether the EMBED model of care is effective in reducing depression among those receiving in-home aged care and upskilling the aged care workforce across Australia.

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