Identification and treatment of depression of older adults in primary care: Findings from the São Paulo Ageing and Health Study

Marcia Scazufca, Paulo Menezes, Karen Tabb, Rachel Kester, Wulf Rössler, Hsiang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Depression, diabetes and hypertension are major contributors to the global burden of disease; however, the majority of research on depression and co-morbid conditions originates in high-income countries. Objective: This study examines the depression identification rate and compares treatment rates of depression with those of diabetes and hypertension among elderly individuals served in primary care through the Family Health Program (FHP) in São Paulo, Brazil. Method: A total of 1558 São Paulo Ageing and Health Study participants (low-income adults ≥65 years old living in São Paulo) registered in the FHP were included for analysis. Chart review was performed for participants with an International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD-10) depression diagnosis (from survey interview) to verify if depression was recorded for these individuals. Depression, diabetes and hypertension treatment were assessed based on clinical assessments and medication checks. Results: Seventy-three participants (4.8%) had ICD-10 depression, 344 (23.2%) had confirmed diabetes and 1207 (79.3%) had confirmed hypertension. The proportion of those identified with depression by medical chart review (n = 63 for individuals whose chart could be found) was 4.8% (n = 3). Nine individuals (12.3%) with ICD-10 depression were treated. Rates of diabetes and hypertension treatment were 72.4% and 77.4%, respectively. Conclusion: Levels of treatment of depression in older adults receiving care in the FHP is very low compared to treatment rates of diabetes and hypertension. Collaborative care effectiveness trials for the treatment of depression in the FHP are needed to improve the quality of depression care for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Depression
  • Depressive disorder
  • Patient-centered care
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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