Acceptability and fidelity of a psychosocial intervention (PROACTIVE) for older adults with depression in a basic health unit in São Paulo, Brazil: A qualitative study

Maiara Garcia Henrique*, Maria Clara P de Paula Couto, Ricardo Araya, Ana Vilela Mendes, Carina Akemi Nakamura, William Hollingworth, Pepijn van de Ven, TJ Peters, Marcia Scazufca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

ABSTRACT
Background: Depression is a common condition in older adults, being often detected and treated initially in primary care. Collaborative care models including, for example, task-shifting and stepped-care approaches have been investigated to overcome the current scarcity of strategies and trained mental health professionals to treat depression. The PROACTIVE study developed a psychosocial intervention, which makes extensive use of technology in an intervention delivered mainly by non-specialists to treat older adults with depression. The aim of this qualitative study is to assess: 1. Health workers’ fidelity to the intervention protocol; 2. Acceptability of the psychosocial intervention from the viewpoint of older adult participants; and 3. Perceptions of the psychosocial intervention by the health workers.

Methods: Qualitative methods were used to achieve our aims. The sample included participants (N=31) receiving the intervention in the pilot trial and health workers (N=11) working in a Basic Health Unit in the northern area of São Paulo, Brazil. Focus group, non-participant observation and structured interviews were used. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.

Results: 1. Health workers’ fidelity to the intervention protocol: training, supervision and the structured intervention were crucial and guaranteed health workers’ fidelity to the protocol. 2. Acceptability of the psychosocial intervention from the viewpoint of older adult participants: Collaborative care, task-shifting, and stepped-care approaches were well accepted. The structured protocol of the intervention including different activities and videos was important to adherence of older adult participants 3. Perceptions of the psychosocial intervention by the health workers: It was feasible to have the home psychosocial sessions conducted by health workers, who are non-mental health specialists and received 3-day training. Training and supervision were perceived as crucial to support health workers before and during the intervention. Technology served as a tool to structure the sessions, obtain and store patient data, present multi-media content, guarantee fidelity to the protocol and facilitate communication among members of the team. However, extra burden was mentioned by the health workers indicating the need of adjustments in their daily duties.

Conclusions: The PROACTIVE intervention was demonstrated to be feasible and accepted by both health workers and older adult participants. The qualitative assessments suggested improvements in training and supervision to ensure fidelity to protocol. To assess effectiveness a randomised controlled trial of the intervention will be conducted with the addition of improvements suggested by this qualitative study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Nov 2021

Structured keywords

  • HEB

Keywords

  • collaborative care
  • task-shifting
  • intervention
  • depression
  • older adults
  • acceptability

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