Telemental Health Collaboration Protocol: What is the best way for rural nurses to help the elderly population decrease depression?
The goal of Rural Telemental Health (RTH) is to increase the access to those in the rural regions of states by using teleconferencing, video-conferencing, emails, group video-conferencing and the telephone to help the geriatric patient improve depression. Telemental Health and/or Telemedicine will also improve communication and collaboration with a team of healthcare providers such as rural clinic nurses and primary care physicians while giving the rural geriatric population access to a much needed health service.
Background and Statement of the Problem
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013) Report revealed that the World Health Organization describes the inequities and disparities within a community as social determinants. These social determinants include age, sex, birth place, where one lives, works, plays, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and has a healthcare system. McKibbin and Deacon (2011) revealed it is estimated that 20% of older adults suffer from a mental health disorder. Patients with a chronic illness such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, geriatric depression, chronic pain issues, cancer, and diabetes account for trillions of dollars spent on medical care in the United States. As the population ages the costs will expand, the shortage of physicians and nurses will continue to decrease and the scope of this problem will increase thus the need for new innovative ideas and plans to care for the geriatric population including those in the rural regions. One potential solution for geriatric depression is Telemental Health especially for the rural population.
Accessing mental health services in an urban setting is difficult due to shortages of mental health professionals and funding. Accessing mental health services in a rural setting can be daunting if not impossible due to the growing population of the geriatric population, the retirement of mental health providers and faculty, and the lack of interest in mental health, primary care, and psychiatric nurse practitioner at the student academic level. Telemental Health services help fill the gap for those caught in the disparity gap.
Ramos-Rios, Mateos, Lojo, Conn, and Patterson, (2012), revealed old age groups account for an important proportion of the population in rural and geographical areas distant from centers where specialized care is provided (Liu et al., 2006). Morimoto, Wexler, and Alexopoulos (2012), suggest that older patients with major depression often exhibit deficits in select executive functions that predispose them to poor antidepressant treatment response, increase the risk of relapse (Kalayam and Alexopoulos1999; Alexopoulos et al. 2004), and promote disability and suicidal ideation (Dombrovski et al. 2008). Given this, psychotherapy...