Reducing depression in home-based aged care

With more than one million Australians receiving in-home aged care, a lack of access to effective mental health treatments that meet their needs is a growing concern.

It is estimated that up to half of the older people who choose to age at home experience significant symptoms of depression but many lack accessible treatment options.


A new project led by Melbourne-based Swinburne University of Technology and leading home care provider Silverchain will seek to address this problem by co-designing and piloting a digital intervention for depression for older adults living at home.


The project, called e-EMBED (Electronic - Enhanced Management of Home-Based Elders with Depression), has received funding from Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA). It uses digital technologies to facilitate the delivery of effective psychological strategies to home care clients.


Swinburne University of Technology clinical geropsychologist Professor Sunil Bhar said the project builds on the partnership’s previous work that found older people were interested in using digital technologies to support their wellbeing.


“The next step is to develop and pilot the digital psychological intervention for depression and evaluate its use in the home context,” she said.


“The design of the final product needs to be carefully planned together with people with depressive symptoms based on their preferences, level of digital literacy, and comfort using technology to improve their health and wellbeing.”


Silverchain Director of Research Discovery, Professor Tanya Davison says this is the first digitally enabled mental health intervention developed specifically for the home aged care setting.


“This program will enable older Australians to access evidence-based treatments and communicate effectively with a mental health clinician in the comfort of their own homes."


“This project demonstrates our commitment to be leaders in home care internationally, provide an evidence base for effective care and to improve the care we offer to more than 115,000 clients each year.”

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.