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Mental health
Depressive symptoms in the last year of life: early screening and varied treatment pathways needed
  1. Jacqueline Reed
  1. Education Department, Milford Care Centre, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Jacqueline Reed, Milford Care Centre, Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland, V94 H795; j.reed{at}

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Commentary on: Kozlov E, Dong X, Kelley A, et al. The epidemiology of depressive symptoms in the last year of life. J Am Geriatr Soc 2019. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16197. [Epub ahead of print 5 Nov 2019].

Implications for practice and research

  • Depression screening should occur early in illness trajectory and continue throughout the course of the illness with recognition that treatment plans could/should differ for different patient cohorts.

  • Further research using depression scales is necessary, to increase recognition of depressive symptoms in the last year of life and guide treatment pathways.


Depression is linked to poor quality of life as individuals near the end of life.1 This study examines the epidemiology of depressive symptoms in the year prior to death, assessing sociodemographic and clinical factors and their impact on the trajectory of depressive symptoms.


An observational cross-sectional cohort study was carried out, comprising 3274 individuals who died within 12 months of …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.