Objective To determine the long term effectiveness of collaborative care management for depression in late life.
Design Two arm, randomised, clinical trial; intervention one year and follow-up two years.
Setting 18 primary care clinics in eight US healthcare organisations.
Patients 1801 primary care patients aged 60 and older with major depression, dysthymia, or both.
Intervention Patients were randomly assigned to a 12 month collaborative care intervention (IMPACT) or usual care for depression. Teams including a depression care manager, primary care doctor, and psychiatrist offered education, behavioural activation, antidepressants, a brief, behaviour based psychotherapy (problem solving treatment), and relapse prevention geared to each patient's needs and preferences.
Main outcome measures Interviewers, blinded to treatment assignment, conducted interviews in person at baseline and by telephone at each subsequent follow up. They measured depression (SCL-20), overall functional impairment and quality of life (SF-12), physical functioning (PCS-12), depression treatment, and satisfaction with care.
Results IMPACT patients fared significantly (P < 0.05) better than controls regarding continuation of antidepressant treatment, depressive symptoms, remission of depression, physical functioning, quality of life, self efficacy, and satisfaction with care at 18 and 24 months. One year after IMPACT resources were withdrawn, a significant difference in SCL-20 scores (0.23, P < 0.0001) favouring IMPACT patients remained.
Conclusions Tailored collaborative care actively engages older adults in treatment for depression and delivers substantial and persistent long term benefits. Benefits include less depression, better physical functioning, and an enhanced quality of life. The IMPACT model may show the way to less depression and healthier lives for older adults.