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Treatment of Depression from the View of Family Physicians

german translation / full article

Carolin von Gottberg, Carmen Checchia, Anita Hausen, Markus Gulich, Thomas Becker, Reinhold Kilian

Keywords: depression family physicians health care barriers qualitative study

BackgroundDepressive diseases are among the most common mental disorders worldwide. In Germany about half of the cases are treated in primary care. The aim of the study was to analyze the view of family physicians regarding their role in the treatment of depressive disorders and the problems of adequately fulfilling this task.MethodsQualitative content analysis of 25 semi-structured expert interviews with family physicians in South Germany. Enquiry period: March 2014 to October 2014.ResultsFamily physicians consider treatment of depression to be one of their key tasks, the adequate fulfillment of which is hampered by time constraints, lack of remuneration and problems in cooperation with other occupational groups involved in the treatment. Lack of resources (time, economic incentives or appointments) and conflicting role expectations are identified as causes of cooperation problems.ConclusionsThe results indicate that family physicians fulfill their role according to the German guidelines for treatment of depression. Differences in the definition of roles and tasks of the different occupational groups involved and conflicting expectations towards other professionals may cause problems in the collaboration. Measures to improve the general conditions and quality of depression treatment by family physicians should focus on problems of cooperation between different occupational groups involved in the treatment of depression.Keywordsdepression; health care barriers; family physicians; qualitative study


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