Background Comorbid depression can occur with diabetes and heart disease. This article reports on a feasibility study focusing on additional roles for practice nurses in detecting and monitoring depression with other chronic diseases. Method A convenience sample of six practices in southeast Australia was identified. Practice nurses received training via a workshop, which included training in the use of the Patient Health Questionnaire, to detect depression. Results The 332 patients who participated in the project each received a comprehensive health summary to assist with self management. Depression was identified in 34% of patients in this convenience sample. After 18 months implementation, practice nurses were strongly in favour of continuing the model of care. General practitioners gave highly favourable ratings for effectiveness and willingness to continue this model of care. Discussion Practice nurses can include depression monitoring alongside systematic care of diabetes and heart disease. A randomised trial is currently underway to compare the clinical outcomes of this model with usual care.
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