Objective: We had three aims 1) understand barriers to perioperative management of anxiety and depression in older surgical patients; 2) identify preferences and requirements for interventions to manage their anxiety and depression; and 3) explore the feasibility of implementing such interventions in perioperative care. Design: A qualitative study using semistructured interviews was conducted. Setting: Participants were recruited at a large academic medical center. Participants: We interviewed older surgical patients and clinicians to characterize their perspectives on management of anxiety and depression symptoms, with emphasis on patient needs, barriers, and potential interventions to address these needs. Measurements: We used the Consolidated Framework for Intervention Research to guide the development of interview questions related to intervention implementation feasibility. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interview responses. Results: Forty semistructured interviews were conducted. Key barriers for perioperative management of depression and anxiety included fear of surgery, acute pain, postoperative neurocognitive disorders, limited understanding of what to expect regarding surgery and recovery, and overwhelmingly complex medication management. Patients and clinicians suggested that a bundled mental health management intervention targeted for older surgical patient population comprised of behavioral and pharmacologic strategies can help mitigate anxiety and depression symptoms during the perioperative period. Clinicians emphasized the need for a collaborative engagement strategy that includes multiple stakeholders in the design, planning, and implementation of such an intevention. Conclusion: New care models need to be developed to integrate mental health care into the current perioperative care practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1118
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Perioperative mental health
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • needs analysis
  • older adults
  • surgery


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