The nurse telephone call is a powerful tool for depression and possibly post-partum depression

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Goodfellow Gems

The nurse telephone call is a powerful tool for depression and possibly post-partum depression

In this cohort study1 nurse-midwives were given 16 hours training in interpersonal psychotherapy which was then delivered by telephone to women with post-partum depression.

The study reported that those who got the phone option versus those referred to a mental health service did better on depression outcomes than the referred group, but there were significant methodological flaws in the design.

Of interest was that 100% of women got at least 1 phone call and on average participated in 6.22 calls while only 50% turned up to the referral service and on average got 2.85 sessions. Clearly, the telephone improves access and possibly outcomes.

An older study2 found that patients randomised to a weekly nurse phone call (lasting on average 5.6 minutes and all patients were on antidepressants) brought about an improvement at six weeks and six months with an NNT of 5 (better than antidepressants for mild or moderate depression3).

References:

  1. Telephone-Administered Interpersonal Psychotherapy by Nurse-Midwives for Postpartum Depression (2016) Click here
  2. Efficacy of Nurse Telehealth Care and Peer Support in Augmenting Treatment of Depression in Primary Care (2000) Click here
  3. Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity (2010) Click here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.


As published in NZ Doctor 27/9/2017