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Title: Screening for depression in older adults in a general hospital setting: the validity of NICE guidance on using two questions
Authors: Esiwe, C
Baillon, Sarah
Rajkonwar, A.
Lindesay, James
Lo, N.
Dennis, M.
First Published: 3-Mar-2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP) for British Geriatrics Society
Citation: Age and Ageing 2015; 0: 1–5
Abstract: Background: Depression is common in older people in general hospital settings and associated with poor outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the validity of two screening questions recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Methods: 118 patients aged over 65 years, admitted to acute medical wards at a teaching hospital, were interviewed in a standardised manner using relevant sections of the Present State Examination – Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry to identify depression according to ICD-10 criteria. Subsequently participants completed the two depression screening questions and the 15 item version of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15). Results: A threshold of one or more positive responses to the two NICE depression screening questions gave a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 71%, positive predictive value (PPV) 49%, and negative predictive value (NPV) 100%. The GDS-15 optimal cut-off was 6/7 with a sensitivity of 80%, specificity of 86%, PPV 62%, and NPV 94%. A two-stage screening process utilising the NICE two questions followed by the GDS-15 with these cut-offs gave a sensitivity of 80%, specificity of 91%, PPV 71%, and NPV 94%. Conclusion: The two depression questions perform well as an initial screening process for noncognitively impaired older people in the acute medical setting. A positive response to either question would indicate further assessment is required by a clinician competent in diagnosing depression in this population, or the possible use of a more detailed instrument such as the GDS-15 to reduce the number of false positive cases.
DOI Link: 10.1093/ageing/afv018
ISSN: 0002-0729
eISSN: 1468-2834
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO and publisher website. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Age and Ageing following peer review. The version of record Age and Ageing 2015; 0: 1–5 is available online at:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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