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Geriatric Behavioral Health emphasizes the biological and psychological aspects of normal aging, the psychiatric effect of acute and chronic physical illness, and the biological and psychosocial aspects of the pathology of primary psychiatric disturbances of older age.

PMHNPs who work with the geriatric population is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in older adults. These disorders include dementia, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and late-life schizophrenia. Psychiatric/mental health care includes listening and responding to the concerns of the older adult, helping families, and working with other health care professionals to develop effective approaches to treatment. Co-existing medical illnesses, medications, family issues, social concerns, and environmental issues are integrated into a comprehensive program of care.

PMHNPs provide psychiatric/mental health care to individuals, families and groups across the lifespan. Though many of us focus our clinical practice on a specific age population, it is imperative that we demonstrate competency in lifespan focused care. This week you will have the opportunity to practice differentiating between the symptoms of apathy, depression, dementia, and side effects of medications.

In the diagnostic and assessment course (NURS 6245), you learned about neurocognitive disorders and were introduced to the 3 D’s: Delirium, Dementia, and Depression. This week you will apply your knowledge and complete the case study, The Man Who Sat on his Couch. Your task is to determine how to tell depression from vascular dementia and everything else between!

  • Differentiate between the symptoms of apathy, depression, dementia, and side effects of medications in a geriatric patient (CO8).
  • Formulate evidence-based pharmacological and nonpharmacological strategies for the treatment of a geriatric patient (CO8).
  • Apply advanced practice clinical reasoning skills in the development of a comprehensive treatment plan for a patient with a diagnosable mental illness (CO8).

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