An innovative psychological treatment can help older people who are suffering from lower-severity depression, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of York.
The study showed that a simple and low-cost intervention reduced the symptoms of depression in older people (aged 65 and over).
Collaborative Care in the CASPER trial included telephone support, symptom monitoring and active surveillance, facilitated by PCMIS’ ability to receive, manage and accurately report on large quantities of patient data.
"We developed our Collaborative Care intervention after consulting with older people and considering evidence about effective treatments for depression." said study manager, Kate Bosanquet, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences.
"We used a simple psychological approach known as behavioural activation. Older people were encouraged to re-engage with social activity and to find alternative ways of being mentally or physically active. This is important since people with depression commonly withdraw from these types of activities and this makes things worse."
To provide a more realistic insight into how collaborative care might be implemented in real-world NHS settings and how demand varies with regard to levels of patient need, all case managers were asked to log their activities with patients on PCMIS, in addition to the number and duration of participant contacts.
“Older people found Collaborative Care to be an acceptable way of accessing help." said Della Bailey, one of the therapists working on the study.
The data also showed that those who received the intervention were less likely to be more severely depressed after a year. Older people were also less anxious and had improved quality of life compared to people who just received care from their GP.
The study team, which also included researchers from the NHS, other universities and the Hull York Medical School are now planning to train NHS therapists in Collaborative Care to ensure that older people all over the UK can benefit from this intervention.
"This is the largest rigorous study of its kind and we are very grateful to the National Institute for Health Research, which funded our work, to PCMIS for providing support in using their patient case management information system, and to the hundreds of older people who participated in the study." said Chief Investigator, Professor Simon Gilbody.
"There is currently very little in the way of psychological treatment offered for older people. We hope that our research will improve the lives of older people throughout the UK."
The full report CASPER trial report is avialable here.