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October 2021

Psychosocial care by general practitioners - Where are the problems? Results of a demonstration project on quality management in psychosocial primary care

Author(s): Sandholzer, H., Brucks, U., Cierpka, M., Deter, H. C., Harter, M., Hoger, G., Richter, R., Schmidt, B., Larisch, A., Wirsching, M.

Journal/Book: Int J Psychiat Med. 1999; 29: 26 Austin Ave, Amityville, NY 11701, USA. Baywood Publ Co Inc. 395-409.

Abstract: Objective: Since 1987, psychosocial services have been a part of the primary care setting in Germany. In the framework of an eight-center national demonstration program, problems in the diagnosis and therapy of psychosocial problems and psychosomatic disorders were assessed. Methods to improve quality were also implemented. Method: General practitioners (n = 191) from six regions participated in the study. One thousand three hundred and forty-one treatment episodes of patients with predominantly psychosocial symptoms were documented. Differences between psychosocial strain, treatment, and outcome were determined by analyses of variance. Results: Anxiety (62%), depression (51%), and marital/family conflicts (44%) were the most frequent symptoms. Psychosocial treatment was offered more often to those patients who had the highest level of anxiety and depression. Patients with pain and without a psychological attribution to their illnesses were offered less psychosocial treatment and suffered worse results. Partners and family members were rarely integrated into therapy. The procedures employed to improve outcome were quality circles, family-oriented case conferences, consultation services, and collaborative groups. Conclusions: These initial results are promising. A process of internal quality management has been initiated. Some of the physicians still resist documenting the data. Patients with somatic symptoms without psychological attribution may need special psychosocial interventions to improve their outcomes.

Note: Article Fritzsche K, Univ Freiburg, Dept Psychosomat, Hauptstr 8, D-79104 Freiburg, GERMANY

Keyword(s): psychosocial treatment; general practitioners; quality management; psychological attribution to the illness; WORLD-HEALTH-ORGANIZATION; PSYCHIATRIC-ILLNESS; PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS; SOMATIZATION; RECOGNITION; DEPRESSION; TRIAL; CONSULTATION; THERAPY


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