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There is evidence for the cost-effectiveness of health visitor (HV) training to assess postnatal depression (PND) and deliver psychological approaches to women at risk of depression. Whether this approach is cost-effective for lower-risk women is unknown. There is a need to know the cost of HV-delivered universal provision, and how much it might cost to improve health-related quality of life for postnatal women. A sub-study of a cluster-randomised controlled trial in the former Trent region (England) previously investigated the effectiveness of PoNDER HV training in mothers at lower risk of PND. We conducted a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis at 6-months postnatal for all mothers with lower-risk status attributed to an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score <12 at 6-weeks postnatal.
Intervention HVs were trained in assessment and cognitive behavioural or person-centred psychological support techniques to prevent depression. Outcomes examined: quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains over the period between 6 weeks and 6 months derived from SF-6D (from SF-36); risk-of-depression at 6 months (dichotomising 6-month EPDS scores into lower risk (<12) and at-risk (⩾12).
In lower-risk women, 1474 intervention (63 clusters) and 767 control participants (37 clusters) had valid 6-week and 6-month EPDS scores. Costs and outcomes data were available for 1459 participants. 6-month adjusted costs were £82 lower in intervention than control groups, with 0.002 additional QALY gained. The probability of cost-effectiveness at £20 000 was very high (99%).
PoNDER HV training was highly cost-effective in preventing symptoms of PND in a population of lower-risk women and cost-reducing over 6 months.
Depression is common among older people but more common among those living in care homes. Depression is not easily detected among older adults because of the presentation, and the tendency for older people not to complain of depression, particularly those living in care homes. In general, care home staff have limited training in recognising depression. Depression is undertreated and residents may not receive a therapeutic dose of antidepressant. The true prevalence of depression among care home residents is uncertain.
This feasibility study aimed to explore the level of depression among older people in care homes by comparing the outcome of an assessment by care home staff with the outcome of a diagnostic clinical interview, using ICD-10 criteria and the 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), conducted by a psychiatrist.
In all, 47 older people from four care homes were interviewed by a psychiatrist. Of them, 39.1% (18/46) of residents were prescribed an antidepressant and were no longer depressed; 8.7% (4/46) were prescribed an antidepressant and remained depressed; and 6.5% (3/46) of residents assessed as being depressed, had not been prescribed an antidepressant. That is, 54% (25/46) of residents had been or were currently depressed. Using ICD-10 criteria, the sensitivity of the GDS at a threshold of 10 and 11 was 100%. In total, 89.4% of residents received a correct diagnosis (presence or absence of depression) using the GDS at the 11 threshold.
The prevalence of depression in these homes was 54%. Of the residents with depression, 72% (18/25) were managed with an antidepressant and 28% (7/25) were receiving ineffective or no treatment. The 30-item GDS can provide more useful information than a home care staff assessment for identifying depression. More research should explore the value of training home care staff to administer the 30-item GDS to optimise the management of depression in older people in care homes.
This paper aims to describe the training preparation for health visitors who took part in the intervention arm of a cluster randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation of training for health visitors – the POstNatal Depression Economic evaluation and Randomised (the PoNDER) trial. A secondary aim is to make available, by electronic links, the training manuals developed for and used for the cognitive behavioural approach (CBA) and the person-centred approach (PCA) training for the health visitors. The paper is of relevance to health visitors, general practitioners, nurse practitioners, midwives, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, community psychiatric nurses, counsellors, and service commissioners.
The trial clinical outcomes have been published, indicating the pragmatic effectiveness of the package of training for health visitors to identify depressive symptoms and provide a psychologically informed intervention. The training was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms at six months postnatally among intervention group women and some evidence of a benefit for the intervention group for some of the secondary outcomes at 18 months follow-up.
The two experimental interventions examined in the PoNDER trial built upon promising work on the potential for psychological interventions to help women recover from postnatal depression as an alternative to pharmaceutical interventions and to address the limitations of previous research in the area.
The package of health visitor training comprised the development of clinical skills in assessing postnatal women and identifying depressive symptoms, and the delivery of a CBA or a PCA for eligible women. This was the largest trial a health visitor intervention and of postnatal depression ever conducted. We are aware of no other rigorously performed trial that has published details of an extensively tested training programme for the benefit of health-care professionals and clients.
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