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Reducing the Impact of Anxiety in Later Life: Nurse-led Innovation in General Practice - Danny Hills
Anxiety likely affects more than a million older Australians. However, the symptoms of anxiety in later life are often unrecognised, thus preventing early diagnosis and treatment, and increasing the risk of more chronic and disabling conditions developing.
This study conducted across Victoria and Australian Capital Territory tested the feasibility and effectiveness of screening for anxiety in the annual 75 years and older health assessment (75+ HA). Prevalence estimates of clinically significant symptoms of anxiety were also obtained.
In almost 600 older people undertaking the 75+ HA and screened for anxiety, approximately one in five were found to have clinically significant symptoms of anxiety.
General practice nurses have reported that the screening for clinically significant symptoms of anxiety can be effectively integrated into the 75+ HA. They have also reported that the enhancement of referral pathways may improve the likelihood of effective medical assessment, diagnosis and, where necessary, treatment.