"Restoring lost function after stroke is the number one reason individuals visit occupational therapists," said Dr. Schmid. "Since treating depression helps improve function, occupational therapists should screen for post-stroke depression and, in conjunction with other members of the patient's health care team, help manage depression."
In the Neurology study, whether an individual was depressed or not was determined through use of the Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), a widely used and easy to administer depression screening tool. The PHQ-9 was originally developed by Kurt Kroenke, M.D., a Regenstrief Institute investigator and IU School of Medicine professor of medicine. Dr. Kroenke, who is a co-author of the new study, has described the PhQ-9 as "a sort of a blood pressure cuff for depression."
According to Dr. Schmid, since occupational therapists are trained in mental health issues and see patients frequently, occupational therapists could use the PHQ-9 to screen for depression after stroke and alert a post-stroke patient's physician to the individual's mental status.
In addition to improving functionality, management of depression would lower health care costs associated with functional impairment and other post-stroke treatment issues.
"Post-stroke depression often impacts quality of life after stroke more than even functional impairments. Since it is treatable with common medications, cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise, it is important to recognize it so patients can be treated. This study is one of the first to show not just the link between depression and worse function post-stroke, but that successfully treating depression symptoms actually improves post-stroke outcomes," said Linda S. Williams, M.D., a Regenstrief Institute investigator, associate professor of neurology at the IU School of Medicine, and a VA Center of Excellence on Implem
|Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen|
Indiana University School of Medicine