Depression is the most common mental health disorder in people aged over 65 years. Late-life depression is associated with chronic illness and disability.
To investigate the feasibility of a collaborative care model for depression in older people in a primary care setting.
Design of study
Randomised controlled trial with 16-weeks follow up.
A primary care trust in Manchester.
Participants were 105 people aged 60 years or older who scored 5 or more on the Geriatric Depression Scale; 53 were randomly allocated to an intervention group and 52 to a usual care group. The intervention group received care managed by a community psychiatric nurse who delivered an intervention comprising a facilitated self-help programme with close liaison with primary care professionals and old-age psychiatry according to a defined protocol. The usual care group received usual GP care. A nested qualitative study explored the views of the health professionals and patients regarding the acceptability and effectiveness of the intervention.
The main outcome measure was recovery from depression. Patients in the intervention group were less likely to suffer from major depressive disorder at follow up compared with usual care (0.32, 95% confidence = interval = 0.11 to 0.93, P = 0.036). The qualitative component of the study demonstrated the acceptability of the intervention to patients.
A model of collaborative care for older people with depression, used in a primary care setting with a facilitated self-help intervention is more effective than usual GP care. This study demonstrates that the implementation of a collaborative care model is feasible in UK primary care and that the intervention is effective and acceptable to patients.
Keywords: depression, elderly, older people, primary care, randomised controlled trial