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Adherence to treatment guidelines enhances treatment outcome. However, in clinical practice many patients with depression do not receive appropriate treatment.
To evaluate the treatment of depression in in-patients of German psychiatric hospitals with respect to treatment outcome and adherence to guidelines.
We recruited 1202 in-patients with depression from ten different hospitals. Quality data concerning treatment were collected at admission, during the treatment course and at discharge.
The level of depression was significantly decreased and most patients were satisfied with treatment. Many aspects of the treatment routine adhered to guideline recommendations. Adherence to guidelines could be improved with respect to adjustment of antidepressant dosage, reduction of benzodiazepine prescription, enhanced use of electroconvulsive therapy and wider use of interpersonal therapy.
The study reveals a high standard of psychiatric treatment of in-patients with depression. Nevertheless there is still room for improvement. Differences between hospitals in adherence to guidelines indicates the need for individual application of quality management tools.
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