Pilot Study Design
A dedicated MPCCC project team coordinated activity and communication across participating healthcare providers. Expert hospital-based psychiatrists and psycho-oncologists trained and supervised the team of community health care providers in learning and practising the pilot study methodology.
Cancer patients were screened for symptoms of depression and referred into the project by their oncologists. Participating patients varied in age, stages of their cancer journey and severity of depression. Each patient was assigned to a participating community-based psychologist, close to home.
Community psychologists used a cognitive therapy for clinical depression specific to cancer patients. Each patient completed between 5-8 sessions. Severity of depression was carefully measured from session to session and results were monitored and fed back to the shared care team so that appropriate support and follow up could occur.
General Practitioners received guidelines to prescribe anti-depressant medication for the patients in need, and regular group supervision sessions throughout the pilot helped community healthcare providers to learn from each other and overcome difficulties.