Prevention of anxiety and depression in the age group of 75 years and over: A randomised controlled trial testing the feasibility and effectiveness of a generic stepped care programme among elderly community residents at high risk of developing anxiety and depression versus usual care [ISRCTN26474556]

Department of General Practice, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.26). 02/2006; 6(1):186. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-6-186
Source: PubMed


In frail elderly, the effects of depression and anxiety are deep encroaching. Indicated prevention studies, aimed at subjects with subthreshold disorder, have shown that well designed interventions are capable of reducing the incidence of depression and anxiety. In this randomised prevention trial for elderly, living in the community and suffering from subthreshold depression and anxiety, a stepped care programme was put together to be tested versus usual (GP) care.

randomised controlled trial. (See figure 1: organisation chart) together with two other projects, this project is part of a national consortium that investigates the prevention of anxiety and depressive disorders in later life using a stepped care programme. The three projects have their own particular focus. This project is aimed at elderly living in the community.Inclusion: subjects with a high risk for depression and anxiety without clinical evidence of these syndromes. The participants are 75 years of age and over and have subthreshold symptoms of depression and or anxiety: they score above the cut-off point on the self-report Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, but the criteria for a major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder) according to a validated interview, the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) are not fulfilled.
primary outcome: incidence of a depressive or anxiety disorder over a period of two years (MINI); secondary outcome: a positive influence of the intervention, a stepped care programme, on symptoms of depression and anxiety and on quality of life as assessed with the CES D, the HADS A and the SF36 respectively (i.e. stabilisation or improvement of symptoms) [see table 1].
Take place at baseline and at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. Trained independent evaluators assess depression and anxiety status, the primary end point (6, 12, 18, 24 months) [see table 2].
Late-life depression and anxiety are characterised by high prevalence, unfavourable prognosis, reduced quality of life, excess mortality and substantial societal costs. No health service, however well equipped, will be able to effectively treat all elderly with depression and anxiety. Therefore, development of (cost) effective means to prevent these disorders is very important.

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    • "According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) criteria [19], true prevention trials are those that exclude individuals meeting criteria for the disorder. In adults, there are only two such trials [14,17] and no indicated trials, although one targeting the very elderly is currently in progress [20]. Trial data from school programs combined with other prevention studies indicates that prevention rates vary, depending on the recruitment and prevention strategy, intervention type, length of follow-up or sample age. "
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    ABSTRACT: Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a highly prevalent psychiatric disorder. Effective prevention in young adulthood has the potential to reduce the prevalence of the disorder, to reduce disability and lower the costs of the disorder to the community. The present trial (the WebGAD trial) aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an evidence-based online prevention website for GAD. The principal clinical question under investigation is the effectiveness of an online GAD intervention (E-couch) using a community-based sample. We examine whether the effect of the intervention can be maximised by either human support, in the form of telephone calls, or by automated support through emails. The primary outcome will be a reduction in symptoms on the GAD-7 in the active arms relative to the non active intervention arms. The WebGAD trial will be the first to evaluate the use of an internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program contrasted with a credible control condition for the prevention of GAD and the first formal RCT evaluation of a web-based program for GAD using community recruitment. In general, internet-based CBT programs have been shown to be effective for the treatment of other anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Phobia, Panic Disorder and stress in clinical trials; however there is no evidence for the use of internet CBT in the prevention of GAD. Given the severe shortage of therapists identified in Australia and overseas, and the low rates of treatment seeking in those with a mental illness, the successful implementation of this protocol has important practical outcomes. If found to be effective, WebGAD will provide those experiencing GAD with an easily accessible, free, evidence-based prevention tool which can be promoted and disseminated immediately.
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    • "Our intervention protocol is based on the protocol of The Prevention of Anxiety and Depression in Late Life consortium (PADLL, in which several Dutch universities and the national mental health institute collaborate) [22]. This consortium designed a generic stepped-care intervention protocol to be tested across different health care settings, different groups of elderly persons and different forms of prevention (prevention of episodes vs. relapse prevention). "
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    ABSTRACT: Depressive and anxiety disorders are a very common, serious and underdetected problem in homes for the elderly. Elderly persons in residential homes are at high risk for developing major depressive and anxiety disorders, and, therefore, deserve attention with regard to prevention. This protocol describes a randomised trial on the feasibility and (cost) effectiveness of a stepped-care programme for prevention of depressive and anxiety disorders in homes for the elderly. The main outcome measure is the incidence of depressive and anxiety disorder in one year with a two years follow up. Secondary outcomes are symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, direct health care costs and satisfaction with treatment. The number of studies examining the effects of preventive interventions on the incidence of mental disorders in the elderly population is very small. However, indicated prevention by means of a stepped-care programme seems to be an important option for decreasing the burden of illness for residents and their caregivers. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in this field. Positive effects may contribute to further use and development of tailored, (cost-) effective and easy to use interventions in a preventive stepped-care programme.
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