Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)
What it measures:
Conditions & Test Variations Included in this Summary:
This summary contains information on the use of this test in patients or clients with and without cognitive impairment, in all settings. GDS has shortened versions as well as translated versions, which are not addressed in this document.
- The Indian Journal of Psychiatry's Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Depression in Elderly recommend using GDS to screen for depression in adults over the age of 60.12
- The Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy recommend using GDS to screen for depression when assessing a patient's risk for falls.13
GDS is not an assessment and does not provide diagnoses. It is an effective tool to screen for moderate to severe depression that will require a referral to a psychologist by the physical therapist/clinician. It is quick to administer and easy to score. It can be administered in written form and with questions being asked verbally, making it an excellent tool even if patients have hearing or visual impairments. GDS is also a nonproprietary, making it inexpensive and easy to access. It can be used in various settings including community, in-patient, and outpatient. It is safe for non-psychologist practitioners, since it does not require mental health training and it does not directly ask about suicide.
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