A Letter Intervention in Primary Care Patients to Improve Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Currently patients thought to have anxiety or depression by their GPs are referred to the Primary Mental Health Team (PMHEIT) for psychiatric assessment. This assessment consists of a one-hour interview with a senior psychiatry registrar or psychiatrist, who then writes a letter to the referring GP. The letter contains diagnostic information and management recommendations. It is not current practice to send a copy of this letter to the patient. We hypothesize that patients who receive a copy of the psychiatric assessment letter that is sent to GPs will improve adherence to treatment recommendations; and that patients who receive a copy of the letter will have improved outcomes.
GPs will be asked to agree to the participation of their patients. Participants will be persons over the age of 18 years who are referred to the PMHEIT for assessment and who receive primary diagnoses of depression or anxiety. After the assessment interview, the patient will be given an explanatory letter and a consent form. Consenting patients will complete the Depression and Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) and a SF12 questionnaire to measure the level of disability they are experiencing due to their mental condition.
Participants will be randomly allocated into two groups: a control group who will not receive a copy of the assessment letter, and an experimental group who will be mailed a copy of the same information that their GP receives. The registrar who conducts the assessment and writes the report will not know to which group each participant has been assigned. Thus, the content of the letter will not be affected by knowledge that the patient will or will not see it. The letter will be sent simultaneously to the referring GP and to experimental group participants. To ensure confidentiality, the letter will be sent by registered mail.
Three weeks later, participants will be mailed a copy of the DASS. After a week, they will be contacted by phone and asked for their DASS responses. They will also be asked a brief series of questions regarding their adherence to the treatment recommendations given in their assessment letter. When adherence is partial or absent, the interviewer will attempt to ascertain the reason. This procedure will be repeated at 3 months, except that assessment on the SF12 will also take place.
Procedure: receipt of copy of psychiatic assessment letter
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||A Randomised Controlled Trial of a Letter Intervention in Primary Care Patients to Improve Depression and Anxiety Disorders|
- score on a depression/anxiety rating scale at 1 month and 3 months
- score on a quality of life scale at 1 month and 3 months
|Study Start Date:||June 2006|
|Study Completion Date:||September 2007|
|Primary Completion Date:||September 2007 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
|Primary Mental Health and Early Intervention Team|
|Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3181|
|Principal Investigator:||Michael McGartland, MClinPsych||The Alfred|