Penny Briese

Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Depression is well recognized worldwide as a leading cause of disability which reduces quality of life, particularly among mature adults. The purpose of this paper is to disseminate the finding of a graduate project which explored depression in mature adults, with a focus on how to improve healthcare for this population in rural communities in North Dakota. A literature review was performed in order to compare rural versus urban practices in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of depression in mature adults. Medical professionals working in the fields of clinic, hospital, and emergency department healthcare were surveyed as to their current practices when assessing, diagnosing, and treating potentially depressed patients. As a result, the Five-by-Five assessment card was formulated to facilitate discussion between patient, nurse, and healthcare provider on the topic of depression, whereupon the tool was again taken to medical professionals in the aforementioned fields for their opinion of its worth and validity for assessing depression in mature adults. The potential benefit of this project is to improve healthcare professionals' ability to recognize common signs and symptoms of depression in the mature adult population and improve the delivery of appropriate treatment for this demographic.