It Takes a TEAM

TEAMcare project lessens patients' depression and complications of heart disease, diabetes

(RxWiki News) Add depression to almost any disease or illness, and matters are bound to get worse. A new study from the University of Washington finds that depression combined with diabetes or heart disease -- or both -- make outcomes less favorable.

TEAMcare -- a randomized, control trial of 214 patients with physical disease and depression paired with nurses -- found that better control of blood-sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol along with less depression meant better quality of life.

Depressed patients with uncontrolled chronic disease are more likely to suffer heart attack, stroke and other complications, according to Dr. Wayne J. Katon, a UW professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and an affiliate investigator at Group Health Research Institute.

Depression is commonly associated with heart disease and diabetes, and can lead to complications and deaths, in part because of feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed that are often paired with depression.

TEAMcare nurses worked with patients to establish better control of physical conditions and lessen depression based on realistic goals in a process called "treating to target." Nurses also made recommendations to the patients' primary care doctors regarding medication and dosage changes. As a result, patients' confidence increased as goals were accomplished, compared to a control group who did not receive TEAMcare intervention.

The intervention approach also led to lower blood glucose, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure for clinically significant results.

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Review Date: 
December 31, 2010