Home Health Blogger

Home Health Policies and Procedures: Anxiety & Depression

Posted by Melissa Cott on May 1, 2014

Home Health Policies - Include anxiety and depression management in your home health policies and procedures.  Your patient may be anxious and/or depressed because illness prevents participation in activities. While anxiety or depression is an understandable response to illness, it is not inevitable. With support and counseling a patient can cope with the blues.iStock_000017198092Small

Recognizing Anxiety

  • Excessive worry about several events or activities for more than half a day.
  • Trouble controlling anxious feelings
  • The presence of three or more of the following symptoms, some of which are present for over half a day:
  • Feeling restless, edgy, keyed up
  • Tiring easily
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Trouble sleeping (initial insomnia or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
  • The anxiety and worry aren't suggestive of another mood disorder

Recognizing Depression

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day—nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (such as hobbies, work, sex, or being with friends) most of the day—nearly every day
  • A sudden change in weight (weight loss without dieting, gaining more than 5% of body weight in 1 month) or a change in appetite
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much nearly every day
  • Agitation or restlessness (observed byothers) nearly every day
  • Constant fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Frequent feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions nearly every day
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide (or a suicide attempt or plan)

Coping with anxiety and depression

  • Counsel the patient to avoid making major life decisions until s/he is effectively coping with depression or anxiety.
  • Instruct the patient to avoid alcohol
  • Encourage exercise even if it is only with a few body parts. Mild exercise 30 minutes a day may have a positive effect on depression or anxiety. If s/he misses a day, tell her/him not to worry and to simply do it the next day.
  • Encourage the patient to be around people, even if s/he is not feeling up to it. The illness may make the patient feel withdrawn, but counsel them to not let it govern their behavior. Encourage the patient to call or visit a friend.
  • Help the patient gain a sense of control by encouraging her/him to care for her/himself as much as possible and make daily decisions such as what to wear
  • Encourage the patient to express feelings and Listening attentively an make no judgments.
  • Take the patient seriously if s/he shows signs of injuring her/himself or talks of suicide. Remove sleeping pills, guns and razor blades.

 Download the Home Health Billing Guide