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Vol. 26, No. 2, 2008
Issue release date: August 2008
Cerebrovasc Dis 2008;26:199–205

The Positive Effect of Integrated Care on Depressive Symptoms in Stroke Survivors

Joubert J. · Joubert L. · Reid C. · Barton D. · Cumming T. · Mitchell P. · House M. · Heng R. · Meadows G. · Walterfang M. · Pantelis C. · Ames D. · Davis S.
aDepartment of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, bSchool of Social Work, University of Melbourne, cDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, dDepartment of Psychiatry, Royal Melbourne Hospital, eNational Ageing Research Institute, fDepartment of Radiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, gDepartment of Radiology, Western General Hospital, and hSchool of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

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Background: Depressive symptoms occur in approximately one-third of stroke patients. We sought to evaluate whether an integrated model of stroke care and secondary prevention reduced depressive symptomatology in stroke survivors. Methods: The integrated care (IC) model is a multifaceted program that provides ongoing collaboration between a specialist stroke service and primary care physicians, using telephone tracking, a bi-directional information feedback loop, management of vascular risk factors, and regular screening for depressive symptoms. Results: Patients exposed to the IC model exhibited significantly fewer depressive symptoms than controls at 12 months post stroke (as measured by the PHQ-9 screening tool; p = 0.006). At 12 months, 30/91 (33%) of the treatment group had depressive symptoms, compared to 52/95 (55%) of the control group (p = 0.003). With other variables adjusted for, the major associates of being depressed at 12 months were group allocation and physical disability. Conclusion: The integrated care approach provides a framework for detecting and monitoring depressive symptoms, and appears to be protective against post-stroke depression.

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