Objectives: The perioperative period is challenging and stressful for older adults. Those with depression and/or anxiety have an increased risk of adverse surgical outcomes. We assessed the feasibility of a perioperative mental health intervention composed of medication optimization and a wellness program following principles of behavioral activation and care coordination for older surgical patients. Methods: We included orthopedic, oncologic, and cardiac surgical patients aged 60 and older. Feasibility outcomes included study reach, the number of patients who agreed to participate out of the total eligible; and intervention reach, the number of patients who completed the intervention out of patients who agreed to participate. Intervention efficacy was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire for Anxiety and Depression (PHQ-ADS). Implementation potential and experiences were collected using patient surveys and qualitative interviews. Complementary caregiver feedback was also collected. Results: Twenty-three out of 28 eligible older adults participated in this study (mean age 68.0 years, 65% women), achieving study reach of 82% and intervention reach of 83%. In qualitative interviews, patients (n = 15) and caregivers (complementary data, n = 5) described overwhelmingly positive experiences with both the intervention components and the interventionist, and reported improvement in managing depression and/or anxiety. Preliminary efficacy analysis indicated improvement in PHQ-ADS scores (F = 12.13, p <0.001). Conclusions: The study procedures were reported by participants as feasible and the perioperative mental health intervention to reduce anxiety and depression in older surgical patients showed strong implementation potential. Preliminary data suggest its efficacy for improving depression and/or anxiety symptoms. A randomized controlled trial assessing the intervention and implementation effectiveness is currently ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-219
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Mental health
  • anxiety
  • behavioral activation
  • depression
  • early Phase evaluation
  • implementation
  • medication optimization
  • older patients
  • surgeries


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