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The Depression Nurse Specialist (DNS) plays a key role in initially assessing symptoms of depression, educating and activating patients, providing feedback on patients’ progress to their primary care clinician, helping to implement treatment plans, and monitoring patients to improve their compliance with their treatment regimen. This manual contains all the information required for the DNS to perform these functions. It provides an overview of the DNS’s role, including those responsibilities that are particular to patients receiving either medication or psychotherapy treatment. A series of flowcharts shows the sequence of the nurse’s activities, beginning with the first meeting with the patient and including all follow-up activities. Explicit protocols provide guidance for the nurse in dealing with patients at various stages and in specific situations, including the initial visit and evaluation, follow-up contacts, health status assessments, and activities to prevent relapses. The manual also provides all of the forms that the nurse will require while performing these responsibilities.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Overview of the Role of the Depression Nurse Specialist

  • Chapter Two

    Initial Telephone Call to Study Patients

  • Chapter Three

    The Initial Visit and Post-Initial Visit Plan

  • Chapter Four

    Assuring Privacy and Confidentiality of Patient Information

  • Chapter Five

    Logging and Tracking Patients

  • Chapter Six

    Protocols for Follow-up Visits

  • Chapter Seven

    Maintenance Phase Treatment and Relapse Prevention

  • Chapter Eight

    Caseload Supervision

  • Appendix A

    Step-by-step Guide for DNS Initial Visit Assessment

  • Appendix B

    DNS Initial Assessment Queries

  • Appendix C

    SF-12 Health Survey

  • Appendix D

    Training Role Plays for Initial Assessment and Follow-up

  • Appendix E

    Course of Action for Relapse Prevention

  • Appendix F

    Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Antidepressants

This project was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and was conducted by RAND Health.

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