OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to determine if a depression training program could assist aged care staff to better recognize depression among older people in residential care. The use of a "paper trail" for a screening tool and a study champion in combination with this training was evaluated to determine if this improved the level of detection of depression. METHOD The study took the form of a randomized control trial. A total of 107 professional carers from residential aged care services in Melbourne, Australia, participated in the study. Thirty-four carers were allocated to the training-only group and completed a six-session depression training program, 35 carers were allocated to the training-plus-screening protocol group, and 38 carers were assigned to a wait-list control group. In total, 216 residents were screened for depression. Carers in all conditions were asked to identify those residents who they perceived to be depressed. Residents were independently assessed with the SCID-I to determine their depression status. RESULTS Trained staff were not found to be better in detecting depression than non-trained staff. Staff in the training-plus-screening condition correctly identified more residents as depressed, but also classified more non-depressed residents as depressed. CONCLUSION The findings demonstrate the need for a greater focus on recognizing depression among carers working in aged care facilities. Protocols should be developed to assist carers to detect, refer, and monitor depression in residents.