BE-ACTIV: A staff-assisted behavioral intervention for depression in nursing homes

Suzanne Meeks, Stephen W. Looney, Kimberly Van Haitsma, Linda Teri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This article (a) describes a 10-week, behavioral, activities-based intervention for depression that can be implemented in nursing homes collaboratively with nursing home activities staff and (b) presents data related to its development, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes. Design and Methods: We developed BE-ACTIV, which stands for Behavioral Activities Intervention, in two pilot study phases: a treatment development phase and a feasibility-outcome phase with a small, randomized trial. We first piloted the intervention with five depressed residents in a single nursing home in collaboration with the social services and activities staff. The second phase randomized 20 residents from six nursing homes to receive either the intervention or treatment as usual. Results: The intervention was well received by residents, family, and staff members. Experience with the intervention and input from staff members resulted in modifications to streamline the intervention and improve implementation. Results suggest that BE-ACTIV reduced institutional barriers to participation in pleasant activities, increased resident control over activity participation, increased overall activity participation, and improved depressive symptoms. Despite low power, statistical and graphical comparisons suggest superiority of the intervention over treatment as usual. Implications: Because depression among nursing home residents is prevalent, heterogeneous, and often treatment resistant, there is a need for effective, low-cost interventions that are ecologically acceptable and efficient. BE-ACTIV is a promising intervention; it is brief, addresses institutional barriers, involves facility staff in treatment, and is acceptable to residents. As such, BE-ACTIV merits further evaluation to establish efficacy and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalGerontologist
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Interventions
  • Nursing homes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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