Managing Depression

Patient and Family Teaching Sheet

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What is depression?

  • A range of feelings that may include sadness, gloom, numbness, emptiness, helplessness, and hopelessness
  • Occurs frequently in chronic and terminal illness
  • Symptoms are often the same as those of illness

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Fatigue
  • Sadness, depressed mood
  • Loss of appetite with weight loss
  • No interest or pleasure in daily activities
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Sleep problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt
  • Difficulty focusing and thinking
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Agitation or slowing down

What to report to the care team?

  • Any of the symptoms
  • A known history of depression
  • Any symptoms such as pain, nausea, difficulty breathing
  • Change in medications the team may be unaware of

What can be done for depression?

Depression may occur at the end of life. There is a wide range of intensity of depression. The team will help you sort out the causes of depression. They will discuss treatment options with you.

You may:

  • Optimize physical status with rest and nutrition
  • Set small, realistic, achievable goals
  • Utilize relaxation techniques
  • Consider complementary therapies such  as  aromatherapy,  art, and music therapy

Your caregiver may:

  • Keep you and your area safe
  • Let you know that they will be there
  • Allow you to express feelings
  • Allow you to control as much as possible related to treatment decisions and activities