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Effectiveness of Screening and Counselling for Elderly With Psychological Problems

This study has been completed.
The Health Care and promotion Fund, the Governement of the Hong Kong SAR.
Information provided by:
The University of Hong Kong Identifier:
First received: January 26, 2006
Last updated: NA
Last verified: December 2005
History: No changes posted

The aim of the study is to test whether screening followed by brief problem-solving counselling in primary care could improve the quality of life of elderly patients with undiagnosed psychological problems. We hypothesize that undiagnosed psychological problems detectable by screening are common in the elderly and brief counselling could improve the quality of life of these patients.

Condition Intervention Phase
Mental Illness
Behavioral: Brief counselling
Behavioral: Behavior
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomised Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Screening and Brief Counselling for Elderly Patients With Psychological Problems in Primary Care.

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by The University of Hong Kong:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Health-related quality of life scores
  • Hospital Anxiety and Depresssion scores

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Consultation rates

Estimated Enrollment: 450
Study Start Date: November 2002
Estimated Study Completion Date: August 2005
Detailed Description:

Objectives: The aim of the study is to test if screening followed by brief problem-solving counselling by primary care doctors can improve the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of elderly patients with previously undiagnosed psychological problems. It will also find out the effects of undiagnosed psychological problems on HRQOL and consultation rates of elderly patients.

Design, Setting & Subjects: This is a prospective single-blinded randomised controlled trial on 450 patients aged 60 or above attending a Government General Outpatient Clinic in Hong Kong, who have been screened for psychological problems.

Methods: Elderly patients attending the General Outpatient Department of the Ap Lei Chau Clinic who are not known to have the diagnosis of psychological problems with the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale (HADS) were screened in order to recruit 300 subjects who are screened positive for undiagnosed psychological problems will be randomised into the counselling or no-counselling groups, and 150 subjects who are screened negative for psychological problems will be selected as normal controls

Interventions: The counselling group will receive brief problem-solving counselling from a trained primary care doctor in addition to their usual medical care; the no-counselling group will receive general health education and their usual medical care; and the normal control group will continue with their usual care only.

Main Outcome Measures: Health-related quality of life measured by the SF-36, the HADS scores and consultation rates. The baseline and changes in outcomes of the three groups will be compared at 0, 6, 12, 36 and 52 weeks after screening.

Conclusions: The results will provide evidence on whether screening followed by brief problem-solving counselling in primary care is effective in improving quality of life and reducing consultation rates for the elderly with undiagnosed psychological problems.


Ages Eligible for Study:   60 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Aged 60 or above
  2. Attending the study primary care clinic
  3. No known diagnosis of psychological problem
  4. Written consent provided

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Known psychological disease diagnosed by a registered practitioner
  2. Taking any psychotropic drug prescribed by a registered practitioner of Western medicine within the last year;
  3. Has suicidal plan or strong suicidal thought;
  4. Has psychotic symptom;
  5. any impairment in cognitive function; or
  6. any communication problem
  7. refuses to participate
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00283270

Sponsors and Collaborators
The University of Hong Kong
The Health Care and promotion Fund, the Governement of the Hong Kong SAR.
Principal Investigator: Cindy L Lam, MD The University of Hong Kong
  More Information

No publications provided Identifier: NCT00283270     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: RESCEP, HCPF 218016
Study First Received: January 26, 2006
Last Updated: January 26, 2006
Health Authority: Hong Kong: Department of Health

Keywords provided by The University of Hong Kong:
Mental health
Problem-solving counselling

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mental Disorders processed this record on November 27, 2014