General Practice - Research Publications

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    The CORE study-An adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve psychosocial recovery for people with severe mental illness: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial
    Palmer, VJ ; Chondros, P ; Furler, J ; Herrman, H ; Pierce, D ; Godbee, K ; Densley, K ; Gunn, JM (WILEY, 2021-08-04)
    BACKGROUND: Mental health policies outline the need for codesign of services and quality improvement in partnership with service users and staff (and sometimes carers), and yet, evidence of systematic implementation and the impacts on healthcare outcomes is limited. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to test whether an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve recovery-orientation of services led to greater psychosocial recovery outcomes for service users. DESIGN: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial was conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Four Mental Health Community Support Services providers, 287 people living with severe mental illnesses, 61 carers and 120 staff were recruited across Victoria, Australia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The 24-item Revised Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS-R) measured individual psychosocial recovery. RESULTS: A total of 841 observations were completed with 287 service users. The intention-to-treat analysis found RAS-R scores to be similar between the intervention (mean = 84.7, SD= 15.6) and control (mean = 86.5, SD= 15.3) phases; the adjusted estimated difference in the mean RAS-R score was -1.70 (95% confidence interval: -3.81 to 0.40; p = .11). DISCUSSION: This first trial of an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention for psychosocial recovery outcomes found no difference between the intervention and control arms. CONCLUSIONS: More attention to the conditions that are required for eight essential mechanisms of change to support codesign processes and implementation is needed. PATIENT AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT: The State consumer (Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council) and carer peak bodies (Tandem representing mental health carers) codeveloped the intervention. The adapted intervention was facilitated by coinvestigators with lived-experiences who were coauthors for the trial and process evaluation protocols, the engagement model and explanatory model of change for the trial.
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    The association between intimate partner violence, alcohol and depression in family practice
    Gilchrist, G ; Hegarty, K ; Chondros, P ; Herrman, H ; Gunn, J (BMC, 2010-09-27)
    BACKGROUND: Depressive symptoms, intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking are common among patients attending general practice. Despite the high prevalence of these three problems; the relationship between them remains relatively unexplored. METHODS: This paper explores the association between depressive symptoms, ever being afraid of a partner and hazardous drinking using cross-sectional screening data from 7667 randomly selected patients from a large primary care cohort study of 30 metropolitan and rural general practices in Victoria, Australia. The screening postal survey included the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Fast Alcohol Screening Test and a screening question from the Composite Abuse Scale on ever being afraid of any intimate partner. RESULTS: 23.9% met criteria for depressive symptoms. A higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0) and a lower proportion of females (12%) than males (25%) were hazardous drinkers (OR 0.4; 95%CI 0.4 to 0.5); and a higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0). Men and women who had ever been afraid of a partner or who were hazardous drinkers had on average higher depressive symptom scores than those who had never been afraid or who were not hazardous drinkers. There was a stronger association between depressive symptoms and ever been afraid of a partner compared to hazardous drinking for both males (ever afraid of partner; Diff 6.87; 95% CI 5.42, 8.33; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 1.07, 95% CI 0.21, 1.94; p = 0.015) and females (ever afraid of partner; Diff 5.26; 95% CI 4.55, 5.97; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 2.23, 95% CI 1.35, 3.11; p < 0.001), even after adjusting for age group, income, employment status, marital status, living alone and education level. CONCLUSIONS: Strategies to assist primary care doctors to recognise and manage intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking in patients with depression may lead to better outcomes from management of depression in primary care.
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    The Participatory Zeitgeist: an explanatory theoretical model of change in an era of coproduction and codesign in healthcare improvement
    Palmer, VJ ; Weavell, W ; Callander, R ; Piper, D ; Richard, L ; Maher, L ; Boyd, H ; Herrman, H ; Furler, J ; Gunn, J ; Iedema, R ; Robert, G (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-01)
    Healthcare systems redesign and service improvement approaches are adopting participatory tools, techniques and mindsets. Participatory methods increasingly used in healthcare improvement coalesce around the concept of coproduction, and related practices of cocreation, codesign and coinnovation. These participatory methods have become the new Zeitgeist-the spirit of our times in quality improvement. The rationale for this new spirit of participation relates to voice and engagement (those with lived experience should be engaged in processes of development, redesign and improvements), empowerment (engagement in codesign and coproduction has positive individual and societal benefits) and advancement (quality of life and other health outcomes and experiences of services for everyone involved should improve as a result). This paper introduces Mental Health Experience Co-design (MH ECO), a peer designed and led adapted form of Experience-based Co-design (EBCD) developed in Australia. MH ECO is said to facilitate empowerment, foster trust, develop autonomy, self-determination and choice for people living with mental illnesses and their carers, including staff at mental health services. Little information exists about the underlying mechanisms of change; the entities, processes and structures that underpin MH ECO and similar EBCD studies. To address this, we identified eight possible mechanisms from an assessment of the activities and outcomes of MH ECO and a review of existing published evaluations. The eight mechanisms, recognition, dialogue, cooperation, accountability, mobilisation, enactment, creativity and attainment, are discussed within an 'explanatory theoretical model of change' that details these and ideal relational transitions that might be observed or not with MH ECO or other EBCD studies. We critically appraise the sociocultural and political movement in coproduction and draw on interdisciplinary theories from the humanities-narrative theory, dialogical ethics, cooperative and empowerment theory. The model advances theoretical thinking in coproduction beyond motivations and towards identifying underlying processes and entities that might impact on process and outcome. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: The Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12614000457640 (results).
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    Embedding effective depression care: using theory for primary care organisational and systems change
    Gunn, JM ; Palmer, VJ ; Dowrick, CF ; Herrman, HE ; Griffiths, FE ; Kokanovic, R ; Blashki, GA ; Hegarty, KL ; Johnson, CL ; Potiriadis, M ; May, CR (BMC, 2010-08-06)
    BACKGROUND: Depression and related disorders represent a significant part of general practitioners (GPs) daily work. Implementing the evidence about what works for depression care into routine practice presents a challenge for researchers and service designers. The emerging consensus is that the transfer of efficacious interventions into routine practice is strongly linked to how well the interventions are based upon theory and take into account the contextual factors of the setting into which they are to be transferred. We set out to develop a conceptual framework to guide change and the implementation of best practice depression care in the primary care setting. METHODS: We used a mixed method, observational approach to gather data about routine depression care in a range of primary care settings via: audit of electronic health records; observation of routine clinical care; and structured, facilitated whole of organisation meetings. Audit data were summarised using simple descriptive statistics. Observational data were collected using field notes. Organisational meetings were audio taped and transcribed. All the data sets were grouped, by organisation, and considered as a whole case. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was identified as an analytical theory to guide the conceptual framework development. RESULTS: Five privately owned primary care organisations (general practices) and one community health centre took part over the course of 18 months. We successfully developed a conceptual framework for implementing an effective model of depression care based on the four constructs of NPT: coherence, which proposes that depression work requires the conceptualisation of boundaries of who is depressed and who is not depressed and techniques for dealing with diffuseness; cognitive participation, which proposes that depression work requires engagement with a shared set of techniques that deal with depression as a health problem; collective action, which proposes that agreement is reached about how care is organised; and reflexive monitoring, which proposes that depression work requires agreement about how depression work will be monitored at the patient and practice level. We describe how these constructs can be used to guide the design and implementation of effective depression care in a way that can take account of contextual differences. CONCLUSIONS: Ideas about what is required for an effective model and system of depression care in primary care need to be accompanied by theoretically informed frameworks that consider how these can be implemented. The conceptual framework we have presented can be used to guide organisational and system change to develop common language around each construct between policy makers, service users, professionals, and researchers. This shared understanding across groups is fundamental to the effective implementation of change in primary care for depression.
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    Diverse voices, simple desires: a conceptual design for primary care to respond to depression and related disorders
    Palmer, V ; Gunn, J ; Kokanovic, R ; Griffiths, F ; Shrimpton, B ; Hurworth, R ; Herrman, H ; Johnson, C ; Hegarty, K ; Blashki, G ; Butler, E ; Johnston-Ata'ata, K ; Dowrick, C (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2010-08-01)
    BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization and the World Organization of Family Doctors have called for 'doable' and 'limited' tasks to integrate mental health into primary care. Little information is provided about tasks GPs can undertake outside of guidelines that suggest to prescribe medication and refer to specialists. OBJECTIVES: The reorder study aimed to gather diverse patient and community perspectives to inform the development of an effective system of depression care. METHOD: Five hundred and seventy-six patients completed computer-assisted telephone interviews. Two hundred and seventy-six community stakeholders completed a modified two round Delphi. Responses were analysed to identify tasks and these were synthesised into a conceptual design. RESULTS: Fifteen core tasks were identified, 5 were agreed upon and a further 10 identified by each group but not agreed upon. Listen, understand and empathize, provide thorough and competent diagnosis and management, follow-up and monitor patients, be accessible and do not rush appointments and provide holistic approach and tailor care to individual needs were agreed on. Other tasks included: develop plans with patients, assess for severity and suicide risk, account for social factors, be well trained in depression care and offer a range of treatment options, appropriate and timely referral, support and reassurance, educate patients about depression, prescribe appropriately and manage medication and be positive and encouraging. CONCLUSIONS: The tasks form the basis of a conceptual design for developing a primary care response to depression. They fit within three domains of care: the relational, competency and systems domains. This illustrates tasks for GPs beyond prescription and referral.
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    A trajectory-based approach to understand the factors associated with persistent depressive symptoms in primary care
    Gunn, J ; Elliott, P ; Densley, K ; Middleton, A ; Ambresin, G ; Dowrick, C ; Herrman, H ; Hegarty, K ; Gilchrist, G ; Griffiths, F (ELSEVIER, 2013-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Depression screening in primary care yields high numbers. Knowledge of how depressive symptoms change over time is limited, making decisions about type, intensity, frequency and length of treatment and follow-up difficult. This study is aimed to identify depressive symptom trajectories and associated socio-demographic, co-morbidity, health service use and treatment factors to inform clinical care. METHODS: 789 people scoring 16 or more on the CES-D recruited from 30 randomly selected Australian family practices. Depressive symptoms are measured using PHQ-9 at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. RESULTS: Growth mixture modelling identified a five-class trajectory model as the best fitting (lowest Bayesian Information Criterion): three groups were static (mild (n=532), moderate (n=138) and severe (n=69)) and two were dynamic (decreasing severity (n=32) and increasing severity (n=18)). The mild symptom trajectory was the most common (n=532). The severe symptom trajectory group (n=69) differed significantly from the mild symptom trajectory group on most variables. The severe and moderate groups were characterised by high levels of disadvantage, abuse, morbidity and disability. Decreasing and increasing severity trajectory classes were similar on most variables. LIMITATIONS: Adult only cohort, self-report measures. CONCLUSIONS: Most symptom trajectories remained static, suggesting that depression, as it presents in primary care, is not always an episodic disorder. The findings indicate future directions for building prognostic models to distinguish those who are likely to have a mild course from those who are likely to follow more severe trajectories. Determining appropriate clinical responses based upon a likely depression course requires further research.
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    Factors associated with smoking and smoking cessation among primary care patients with depression: a naturalistic cohort study
    Gilchrist, G ; Davidson, S ; Middleton, A ; Herrman, H ; Hegarty, K ; Gunn, J (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2015-01-01)
    Purpose – People with a history of depression are more likely to smoke and less likely to achieve abstinence from smoking long term. The purpose of this paper is to understand the factors associated with smoking and smoking cessation among patients with depression. Design/methodology/approach – This paper reports on smoking prevalence and cessation in a cohort of 789 primary care attendees with depressive symptoms (Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score of=16) recruited from 30 randomly selected Primary Care Practices in Victoria, Australia in 2005. Findings – At baseline, 32 per cent of participants smoked. Smokers were more likely to be male, unmarried, receive government benefits, have difficulty managing on available income, have emphysema, a chronic illness, poor self-rated health, to have more severe depressive and anxiety symptoms, to be taking anti-depressants, to be hazardous drinkers, to report suicidal ideation and to have experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse. At 12 months, 20 participants reported quitting. Females and people with good or better self-rated health were significantly more likely to have quit, while people with a chronic illness or suicidal ideation were less likely to quit. Smoking cessation was not associated with increases in depression or anxiety symptoms. Only six participants remained quit over four years. Practical implications – Rates of smoking were high, and long-term cessation was low among primary care patients with depressive symptoms. Primary care physicians should provide additional monitoring and support to assist smokers with depression quit and remain quit. Originality/value – This is the first naturalistic study of smoking patterns among primary care attendees with depressive symptoms.
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    The CORE study protocol: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial to test a co-design technique to optimise psychosocial recovery outcomes for people affected by mental illness in the community mental health setting
    Palmer, VJ ; Chondros, P ; Piper, D ; Callander, R ; Weavell, W ; Godbee, K ; Potiriadis, M ; Richard, L ; Densely, K ; Herrman, H ; Furler, J ; Pierce, D ; Schuster, T ; Iedema, R ; Gunn, J (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: User engagement in mental health service design is heralded as integral to health systems quality and performance, but does engagement improve health outcomes? This article describes the CORE study protocol, a novel stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial (SWCRCT) to improve psychosocial recovery outcomes for people with severe mental illness. METHODS: An SWCRCT with a nested process evaluation will be conducted over nearly 4 years in Victoria, Australia. 11 teams from four mental health service providers will be randomly allocated to one of three dates 9 months apart to start the intervention. The intervention, a modified version of Mental Health Experience Co-Design (MH ECO), will be delivered to 30 service users, 30 carers and 10 staff in each cluster. Outcome data will be collected at baseline (6 months) and at completion of each intervention wave. The primary outcome is improvement in recovery score using the 24-item Revised Recovery Assessment Scale for service users. Secondary outcomes are improvements to user and carer mental health and well-being using the shortened 8-item version of the WHOQOL Quality of Life scale (EUROHIS), changes to staff attitudes using the 19-item Staff Attitudes to Recovery Scale and recovery orientation of services using the 36-item Recovery Self Assessment Scale (provider version). Intervention and usual care periods will be compared using a linear mixed effects model for continuous outcomes and a generalised linear mixed effects model for binary outcomes. Participants will be analysed in the group that the cluster was assigned to at each time point. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The University of Melbourne, Human Research Ethics Committee (1340299.3) and the Federal and State Departments of Health Committees (Project 20/2014) granted ethics approval. Baseline data results will be reported in 2015 and outcomes data in 2017. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000457640.
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    Self-Rated Health and Long-Term Prognosis of Depression
    Ambresin, G ; Chondros, P ; Dowrick, C ; Herrman, H ; Gunn, JM (ANNALS FAMILY MEDICINE, 2014-01-01)
    PURPOSE: Indicators of prognosis should be considered to fully inform clinical decision making in the treatment of depression. This study examines whether self-rated health predicts long-term depression outcomes in primary care. METHODS: Our analysis was based on the first 5 years of a prospective 10-year cohort study underway since January 2005 conducted in 30 randomly selected Australian primary care practices. Participants were 789 adult patients with a history of depressive symptoms. Main outcome measures include risks, risk differences, and risk ratios of major depressive syndrome (MDS) on the Patient Health Questionnaire. RESULTS: Retention rates during the 5 years were 660 (84%), 586 (74%), 560 (71%), 533 (68%), and 517 (66%). At baseline, MDS was present in 27% (95% CI, 23%-30%). Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data showed participants reporting poor or fair self-rated health had greater odds of chronic illness, MDS, and lower socioeconomic status than those reporting good to excellent self-rated health. For participants rating their health as poor to fair compared with those rating it good to excellent, risk ratios of MDS were 2.10 (95% CI, 1.60-2.76), 2.38 (95% CI, 1.77-3.20), 2.22 (95% CI, 1.70-2.89), 1.73 (95% CI, 1.30-2.28), and 2.15 (95% CI, 1.59-2.90) at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years, after accounting for missing data using multiple imputation. After adjusting for age, sex, multimorbidity, and depression status and severity, self-rated health remained a predictor of MDS up to 5 years. CONCLUSIONS: Self-rated health offers family physicians an efficient and simple way to identify patients at risk of poor long-term depression outcomes and to inform therapeutic decision making.