Background: There is evidence that late life depression is associated with high levels of unmet needs. Only a minority of the depressed patients appears to be adequately treated.
Methods: Ninety-nine older patients (58–92 years), 96 informal carers and 85 health-care professionals were recruited from six outpatient facilities for old age psychiatry in the Netherlands and interviewed to identify met and unmet needs, using the Camberwell Assessment of Needs for the Elderly (CANE). The severity of depression was measured with the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS).
Results: On average patients scored more unmet needs than staff and carers. On item level, patients and staff showed the highest agreement in the psychological needs category. Patient and carers showed the highest agreement on physical health needs. Logistic regression showed that severe depression is a significant predictor of low concordance between stakeholders on a substantial number of CANE items.
Limitations: Kappa coefficients were computed to determine agreement between parties involved. However, Kappa coefficients should be interpreted with caution, especially when obvious disparity in unmet needs scores between groups of interest can be observed.
Conclusion: Home dwelling older patients with major depressive disorder, their practitioners and their informal carers have different perceptions of the older patients unmet needs.Practitioners should be aware of the negative impact of depression severity on reaching agreement regarding unmet needs and its possible consequences for mutual goal setting and compliance.