There is a critical need for treatments that address depression and mental health care barrers among the nearly 100,000 Veterans with Parkinson's Disease (PD) served by the VA. Depression in PD (dPD) is a major complicating factor in the movement disorder, affecting several key functional outcomes such as motor disability, cognitive status, quality of life, and caregiving relationships. The challenge to meeting the treatment needs of Veterans with dPD centers on the lack of clinicians who are knowledgeable about the interactions of PD and depression, the considerable transportation barriers faced by this population, combined with the geographical dispersion of specialized services within the VA, and the paucity of effectiveness research that informs treatments for dPD.
The proposed study seeks to overcome these challenges by using a telehealth delivery platform (i.e., video-to-home) to evaluate the effectiveness of a 10-session cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) package that has been tailored to address the unique needs of depressed Veterans with PD. The proposed treatment package also provides support and skills-training to the Veteran's Caregiver (3 sessions). This HSR& D proposal will be the first to: 1) to evaluate the effectiveness of TH-CBT for improving Veteran outcomes in dPD, 2) to examine the impact of TH-CBT for dPD on a variety of Caregiver outcomes, and 3) to assess Veteran and Caregiver perspectives on TH-CBT using a mixed-methods sequential explanatory design.
A PD-informed, telehealth-administered cognitive behavioral therapy package (TH-CBT) for dPD will be evaluated in a clinical effectiveness trial. 180 participants (90 Veterans and 90 Caregivers) will be enrolled. Half of the sample will receive the study treatment package (TH-CBT), in addition to their standard medical care. The other half will only receive standard medical care. The two groups will be compared at baseline, midpoint (week 5), endpoint (week 10), and 1 and 6-months post treatment. Veterans will be assessed with standard measures of depression, anxiety, quality of life, and motor function, while Caregivers will be evaluated with measures of caregiver burden, empowerment, and communication.
The study remains in progress and is still accruing participants. There are no findings.
Given the public health impact of improved depression treatment in Veterans with Parkinson's disease, the knowledge to be gained may be significant and the project could directly impact clinical practice. The data gleaned from this study will guide the wide-scale implementation of this remote care model within the VA for meeting the specialized needs of Veterans with Parkinson's disease. Towards this goal, successful results for the proposed study will facilitate a multisite initiative to further examine issues of dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness. We plan to work with national partners towards this goal.
- Pontone GM, Dissanayaka N, Dobkin RD, Mari L, Marsh L, Vernaleo BA, Weintraub D, Mari Z. Integration and Extension of Specialty Mental Healthcare Services to Community Practice in Parkinson Disease. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2019 Jul 1; 27(7):712-719.