Using validated screening instruments to detect depressive symptoms in the elderly has been recommended. The aim of this study was to compare a patient-centred consultation model with the PRIME-MD screening questionnaire, using the MADRS-S as reference for detecting depressive symptoms in an elderly primary care population.
Primary care, Sweden.
During an 11-month period 302 consecutive patients aged 60 and over attending a primary care centre were screened with the PRIME-MD and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale-Self-rated version (MADRS-S) instrument. The results were unknown to the GPs who used a structured, patient-centred consultation model comprising seven open-ended "key questions".
Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values (PPV), and negative predictive values (NPV) were calculated for the PRIME-MD screening questionnaire and the patient-centred consultation model using MADRS-S as reference for possible depression at two cut-off levels with 15% prevalence. Results. Sensitivity was lower for the consultation model than the PRIME-MD screening questionnaire: 78% and 98%, respectively. The GPs failed to identify every fifth patient using the lower cut-off (MADRS-S=13) but the number of required diagnostic interviews decreased by almost 50%: 85 versus 162, respectively. PPV was 43% and 28%, respectively. Both instruments showed high sensitivity (93%) using the higher cut-off (MADRS-S=20) and had high NPV: 95% and 99%, respectively.
The findings suggest that the consultation screening procedure might be as useful in everyday practice as the PRIME-MD screening questionnaire. Both screening procedures may also be useful for ruling out depressive symptoms.
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