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The Impact of Comorbidity of Depression and Anxiety on Outcomes of Illness

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The Impact of Comorbidity of Depression and Anxiety on Outcomes of Illness

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Overview of Teaching Strategy

The impact depression and anxiety can have on outcomes of medical procedures and illness is significant. Older adults do not always present in the same way as a younger population regarding symptoms related to mental illnesses.  It is not uncommon for health care professionals to miss or ignore a diagnosis of depression or anxiety because they feel the symptoms are fully explained by the situation.  A missed diagnosis can have detrimental effects on outcomes, transition back home, and return to functioning.

In this Teaching strategy, the student will meet Eugene Shaw, an 82 year old former Marine who served in the Korean War.  This teaching strategy focuses on Eugene's hospitalization for vascular problems related to his diabetes and makes subtle hints that he may have underlying depression or anxiety. The activities are directed at evaluating, and better understanding, the complexities of these diagnoses compounded with his medical problems. In addition, the student will explore the general impact of stress, depression, and anxiety on outcomes when seen in concert with chronic illness.

Learning Outcomes

Students will: 
  • Identify behaviors that may indicate a mood disorder
  • Identify behaviors that may indicate anxiety
  • Develop an understanding of the difference between depression and difficulty coping
  • Identify tools that could be useful in assessing cognition and mood
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of depression and anxiety on outcomes of physical illness 

ACE.S Knowledge Domains 

  • Individualized Aging
  • Vulnerability During Transitions
  • Complexity of Care

ACE.S Essential Nursing Actions 

  • Assess Function and Expectations
  • Coordinate and Manage Care
  • Make Situational Decisions 

NLN Competencies for Graduates of Nursing Programs 

  • Human Flourishing
  • Nursing Judgment
  • Spirit of Inquiry

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