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Assessment and follow up of depressed patients by practice nurses was similar to care by GPs
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Question What extended role can practice nurses have in the assessment and follow up of depressed patients who are seen by general practitioners (GPs)?

Design

2 concurrent 4 month randomised controlled trials.

Setting

20 general practices in the UK.

Patients

577 patients (mean age 46 y, 78% women) whose GPs considered them to have been depressed for ≥4 weeks. Exclusion criteria were suicidal ideation, manic depressive psychosis, or current treatment for depression from specialist psychiatric services. Follow up was 88% (study 1) and 92% (study 2).

Intervention

All patients received a standardised psychiatric assessment by nurses and completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). In study 1, nurses reported the psychiatric assessment results to GPs and provided a summary in the notes for 74 patients. For 82 patients, the psychiatric assessment results were not reported to GPs, but nurses …

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