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The Gerontologist 48:542-548 (2008)
© 2008 The Gerontological Society of America

Project ADAPT: A Program to Assess Depression and Provide Proactive Treatment in Rural Areas

Marilyn Luptak, PhD, MSW1, Merrie J. Kaas, DNSc, RN2, Margaret Artz, PhD3 and Teresa McCarthy, MD, MS4

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Marilyn Luptak, Assistant Professor, University of Utah College of Social Work, 395 South 1500 East, Room 101, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail: Marilyn.Luptak{at}

Purpose: We describe and evaluate a project designed to pilot test an evidence-based clinical intervention for assessing and treating depression in older adults in rural primary care clinics. Project ADAPT—Assuring Depression Assessment and Proactive Treatment—utilized existing primary care resources to overcome barriers to sustainability experienced by similar projects. Design and Methods: This multifaceted intervention, which was structured after the successful IMPACT (Improving Mood/Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment) research intervention, used on-site geriatric depression specialists, clinic staff training, team collaboration, and depression practice guidelines to improve depression care for rural elders. IMPACT screening and assessment instruments and treatment protocols were modified for use by less highly trained staff already employed by the rural primary care clinics. Patient and provider depression educational materials and depression screening and monitoring protocols were provided by means of regional training sessions and phone contact. Evaluation data were collected by mail and phone surveys. Results: Although Project ADAPT materials and training were initially developed for providers in rural primary care clinics, most participants came from long-term-care facilities, hospitals, home care, and public health and social service agencies. Forty-four sites sent 56 staff to Project ADAPT regional trainings, but many did not participate after the initial training. Participants who did continue reported that training improved geriatric depression screening and communication with the primary provider. Implications: Outcomes suggest that provider, patient, and system issues have to be addressed differently in rural areas to improve geriatric depression treatment in primary care settings.

Key Words: Collaborative careDepressionMental healthPrimary care clinicsRural health care settings

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2008 by The Gerontological Society of America.