Liaison Coordinates Heart Care

Heart patients with depression receive collaborative care

(RxWiki News) Patients who end up in the hospital because of their heart disease often have a long road to recovery in front of them. Unfortunately, depression can make that road more difficult.

A new study from Harvard Medical School and Massachussetts General hospital looked at two different approaches to treating depression for hospitalized cardiac patients.

"Heart patients experiencing depression could benefit from participation in a collaborative care approach."

Patients received either 'usual care', which was simply a standard recommendation for getting treatment for depression, or 'collaborative care'.

This new care offering  was a more intensive program that included written and verbal education, detailed treatment options on medications, scheduling pleasurable activities, and making sure follow-up care was scheduled.

Jeff C. Huffman, M.D., lead author of the study, and his team studied 175 hospitalized, depressed heart patients who were assigned to either usual care, or collaborative care, which included a liaison care manager to coordinate depression management between the primary care physician, patient and psychiatrist.

Collaborative care patients were almost twice as likely to have their depression symptoms subside compared to patients in the usual care program after six weeks.

The difference wasn’t as dramatic 12 weeks after discharge, and there was no statistical difference at all 6 months after discharge.

Collaborative care patients also had minimized their cardiac symptoms compared to the usual care patients and were able to take better care of themselves through diet and exercise. Implementing this type of care in a hospital setting is much more cost effective than basing one outside the hospital. 

Review Date: 
April 6, 2011