The Depression/Hypertension in Chinese Older Adults - Collaborations in Health (COACH) Study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the COACH intervention to CAU for the treatment of comorbid depression and HTN in Chinese older adult rural village residents. COACH integrates the care provided by the older person's primary care provider (PCP) with that delivered by an Aging Worker (AW;a lay member of the village's Aging Association), supervised by a psychiatrist consultant. Based on chronic disease management principles, the PCP is trained to use evidence based practice guidelines for treatment of both HTN and depression, and provided with access to mental health consultation regarding optimal management of the patient's depression. The AW is trained to conduct a systematic assessment of the older person's social context to identify and reduce social and environmental barriers to treatment adherence and response. AWs participate with the PCP in developing multi-disciplinary care plans for their shared patients, reinforce treatment adherence and adoption of healthy behaviors, and emphasize activation and engagement of the older person in activities designed to improve their connectedness to others and to the community. Finally, PCP, AW, and Psychiatrist Consultant are trained to collaborate in their shared clients'care. 160 villages will be randomized to deliver COACH or CAU to eligible subjects who reside there (approximately 15 per village will meet criteria), or a total of about 2400 subjects. Treatment will continue for one year, with research evaluations at baseline, 3 6, 9, and 12 months. Utilization data will be obtained from the EMR and administrative records.
Specific aims of the study are to determine whether COACH is more effective than CAU in treating depression (Aim 1) and HTN (Aim 2);whether improvements in treatment adherence precede reductions in depression and improvement in BP control (Aim 3a), and whether improvements in depression symptoms precede improvements in BP control (Aim 3b);if COACH is associated with greater improvements in health- related quality of life than CAU (Aim 4);and to compare the costs associated with each approach (Aim 5).

Public Health Relevance

Depression and HTN are common, costly, and destructive conditions among the rapidly growing aged population of rural China. Because the COACH model provides additional capacity to existing resources in rural settings, integrates social interventions with the medical model, and is consistent with the cultural context of rural life, it would be both a feasible and scalable approach to management of prevalent comorbid medical and mental health conditions of aging in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-B (01))
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Pringle, Beverly
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University of Rochester
Schools of Dentistry
United States
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Chen, Shulin; Boyle, Lisa L; Conwell, Yeates et al. (2014) The challenges of dementia care in rural China. Int Psychogeriatr 26:1059-64