Regular Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 4, P381-390, April 2019

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Late-Life Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms Following Rehabilitation Services in Medicare Beneficiaries

  • Adam Simning
    Send correspondence and reprint requests to Adam Simning, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 300 Crittenden Blvd., Rochester, NY 14642.
    Department of Psychiatry (AS, YC), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY
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  • Julie Kittel
    Department of Public Health Sciences (JK), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY
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  • Yeates Conwell
    Department of Psychiatry (AS, YC), University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY

    Office for Aging Research and Health Services (YC), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
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Published:December 13, 2018DOI:



      The aim of this study was to determine whether patients who received rehabilitation services had an increased risk of having late-life depressive or anxiety symptoms within the year following termination of services.


      The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) is a population-based, longitudinal cohort survey of a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65years and older. This study involved 5,979 participants from the 2016 NHATS survey. The Patient Health Questionnaire-2 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 2-item assessed for clinically significant depressive and anxiety symptoms.


      The prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms was higher in older adults who had received rehabilitation services in the year prior and varied by site: no rehabilitation (depressive and anxiety symptoms): 10.4% and 8.8%; nursing home or inpatient rehabilitation: 38.8% and 23.8%; outpatient rehabilitation: 8.6% and 5.5%; in-home rehabilitation: 35.3% and 20.5%; multiple rehabilitation sites: 20.3% and 14.4%; and any rehabilitation site: 18.4% and 11.8%. In multiple logistic regression analyses, nursing home and inpatient and in-home rehabilitation services, respectively, were associated with an increased risk of having subsequent depressive symptoms (odds ratio: 3.51; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.85–6.63; OR: 2.15; 95% CI: 1.08–4.30) but not anxiety symptoms.


      Older adults who receive rehabilitation services are at risk of having depressive and anxiety symptoms after these services have terminated. As mental illness is associated with considerable morbidity and may affect rehabilitation outcomes, additional efforts to identify and treat depression and anxiety in these older adults may be warranted.

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