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Collaborative Care Improves Mental Health in Cardiac Patients

Telephone-based intervention with social worker used to manage depression and/or anxiety disorders

Collaborative Care Improves Mental Health in Cardiac Patients

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A telephone-based intervention improves mental health-related quality of life in cardiac patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders, according to research published online April 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Jeff C. Huffman, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned patients discharged from inpatient cardiac units for acute coronary syndrome, arrhythmia, or heart failure to either telephone-based, collaborative care (intervention group; 92 patients) or usual care (control group; 91 patients) for the treatment of clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and/or panic disorder.

The researchers found that patients receiving collaborative care achieved significantly greater mean increases (11.21 points) on the Short Form-12 Mental Component Score at 24 weeks than those receiving usual care (5.53 points; estimated mean difference, 5.68 points; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.14 to 9.22; P = 0.002; effect size, 0.61). Patients in the intervention group also had significant improvements in depressive symptoms and general functioning and higher treatment rates for mental health disorders than those in the control group. No difference was found between the groups for anxiety scores, rates of disorder response, and adherence.

"Given the relatively low-burden and low-resource nature of this intervention -- with telephone delivery of all postdischarge interventions and use of a single social worker as the care manager for 3 psychiatric illnesses -- such a program may be easily implemented and effective in real-world settings," the authors write.

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