PHQ-9 Archives - THE GRAND

What is PHQ-9?

PHQ-9 – Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Module

Catherine Denlinger, DOSS, MSW, LSW
Director of Social Services
The GRAND of Dublin

PHQ-9 stands for Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Module.  It a screen used to assist with identifying a resident’s current and recent mood state and to help determine if any interventions or referrals need to occur.  The 9 stands for the 9 criteria derived from the DSM-IV (now DSM-V) which is a diagnostic manual for those in the mental health field.  The PHQ-9 is a mandatory interviewing tool for skilled nursing centers.  A social worker is usually the one that would be administering the PHQ-9.

The PHQ-9 is administered shortly upon admission and then several times thereafter if a resident is in a center for skilled services.   It is administered after 14 days, 30 days and so forth.  If a resident is receiving long term care, then the PHQ-9 is administered upon admission, quarterly and if there is a significant improvement or decline in a resident’s well-being.

A resident is asked is over the past 2 weeks, has he/she been bothered by any of the following problems.  There are 9 questions to be asked that are answered with a yes or no.  If a question is answered yes, then there is a follow-up question asking the frequency ranging from a 0 to a 3.

  • A 0 is never to 1 day
  • A 1 is 2-6 days (several days)
  • A 2 is 7-11 days (half or more of the days)
  • A 3 is 12-14 days (nearly every day)

The scoring ranges from 00 to 27.  The tally of the scores represents a resident’s tentative mood state for depressive signs/symptoms.

  • A score of 0-4 represents none to minimal depression
  • A score of 5-9 represents mild depression
  • A score of 10-14 represents moderate depression
  • A score of 15-19 represents moderately severe depression
  • A scored of 20 + represents severe depression

Below is the Resident Mood Interview (PHQ-9) found in the MDS Manual used by all skilled nursing centers:


This questionnaire is a tool to assist with providing a holistic presentation of a resident in order to ensure the most appropriate plan of care.   Here at The GRAND, there are resources available to assist a resident with depression signs/symptoms during their stay with us such as scheduled activities, pet therapy, counseling services, a Medical Director to oversee any medication management needs and an ample amount of caring staff members to talk with.  The Grand has all private rooms for a resident’s comfort and privacy as well as multiple locations throughout the center to engage in socialization or to just have time for oneself.  We strive to make our residents stay both physically and mentally stimulating as well as to have the best possible outcome for their well-being.