eFit – HCP: Psychological Concerns

Anxiety disorder causes feelings of fear, worry, apprehension, or dread that are excessive or disproportional to the problems or situations that are feared. Anxiety is a common illness among older adults, affecting as many as 10-20% of the older population, though it is often undiagnosed.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after a traumatic event that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm to the individual, a loved one, or even strangers. PTSD can result from traumatic incidents, such as a mugging, rape, abuse, car accidents, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, in addition to resulting from experiences of war.

Suicide assessment is particularly important in older patients. People 65 years and older, particularly men, have the highest suicide rate of any other group. This contradicts a popular misconception that the highest rate is among the young. Anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder and PTSD, are independently associated with suicide attempts. Clinicians need to assess suicidal behavior among patients presenting with anxiety problems.

The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener (GAD-7):

Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Anxiety, Posttraumatic Stress, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (BioMed Central Psychiatry):
CCSMH The Assessment and Treatment of Mental Health Issues in Long Term Care Homes: (Focus on Mood and Behaviour Symptoms) (Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health):
Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults: Management (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence):
Flow Chart
National Guidelines for Senior’s Mental Health: The Assessment of Suicide Risk and Prevention of Suicide (Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health):
National Guidelines for Seniors’ Mental Health: The Assessment and Treatment of Mental Health Issues in Long Term Care Homes (Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health):
Nursing Best Practice Guideline: Assessment and Care of Adults at Risk for Suicidal Ideation and Behaviour (Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario):
Suicide Assessment & Prevention for Older Adults (Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health):

View the CSAH Lesson on Psychological Concerns

View CSAH Courses for HCP: Caring for the Older Adult

This series of courses provides a foundation for understanding, recognizing, assessing and managing health care concerns in the older adult.  Each Lesson includes short narrated modules that focus on these four themes.

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We share aging-related courses and archived content offered by other leaders in the field of geriatric care.