An intervention to improve nurse-physician communication in depression care

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;18(6):483-90. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181bf9efa.


Objectives: Depression in older adult home care recipients is frequently undetected and inadequately treated. Failed communication between home healthcare personnel and the patient's physician has been identified as a barrier for depression care. The purpose of this pilot intervention study was to improve nurse competency for communicating depression-related information to the physician.

Design: A single group pre-post experimental design.

Setting: Two Medicare-certified home healthcare agencies serving an urban and suburban area in New York.

Participants: Twenty-eight home care nurses, all female Registered Nurses.

Intervention: Two-hour skills training workshop.

Measurements: To evaluate the intervention, pre-post changes in effective nurse communication using Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and nurse survey reports.

Results: The intervention significantly improved the ability of the home care nurse to perform a case presentation in a complete and standard organized format pre versus postintervention. The intervention also increased nurse-reported certainty to communicate depression-related information to the physician.

Conclusions: Our findings provide support for the ability of a brief, depression-focused communication skills training intervention to improve home care nurse competency for effectively communicating depression-related information to the physician.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression / nursing
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Nurses*
  • Nursing / methods*
  • Physicians*
  • Pilot Projects