Cognitive behaviour therapy for long-term frequent attenders in primary care: a feasibility case series and treatment development study

Malins, Samuel and Kai, Joe and Atha, Christopher and Avery, Anthony and Guo, Boliang and James, Marilyn and Patel, Shireen and Sampson, Christopher and Stubley, Michelle and Morriss, Richard K. (2016) Cognitive behaviour therapy for long-term frequent attenders in primary care: a feasibility case series and treatment development study. British Journal of General Practice . ISSN 1478-5242 (In Press)

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Abstract

Background: Most frequent attendance in primary care is temporary. Long-term frequent attendance may be suitable for psychological intervention to address health management and service use.

Aim: To explore the feasibility and acceptability of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) for long-term frequent attendance in primary care and obtain preliminary evidence regarding clinical and cost-effectiveness.

Design and Setting: A CBT case series was carried out in five GP practices.

Method: Frequent attenders (FAs) were identified from case notes and invited by their practice for assessment, then offered CBT. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed by CBT session attendance and thematic analysis of semi-structured questionnaires. Clinical and cost effectiveness was assessed by primary care use and clinically important change on a range of health and quality of life instruments.

Results: Of 462 FAs invited to interview, 87 (19%) consented to assessment. Thirty-two (7%) undertook CBT over median three months. Twenty-four (75%) attended > 6 sessions. Eighteen FAs (86%, n=21) reported overall satisfaction with treatment. Patients reported valuing listening without judgement alongside support to develop coping strategies. Thirteen (55%, n=24) achieved clinically important improvement on the SF-36 Mental-Component Scale at six month follow-up and improved quality of life, but no improvement on other outcomes. Primary care use reduced from median eight contacts in three months at baseline (n=32) to three contacts in three months at one year (n=18).

Conclusion: CBT appears feasible and acceptable to a sub-set of long-term FAs in primary care who halved their primary care use. With improved recruitment strategies, this approach might contribute to decreasing GP workload and merits larger-scale evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Frequent attendance; primary health care; cognitive behaviour therapy; health anxiety; medically unexplained symptoms; quality of life; costs
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Psychiatry
University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Primary Care
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2016 09:01
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 21:52
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33706

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