Bio


Maike van Niekerk is pursuing an MD at Stanford School of Medicine as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

Previously, Maike earned her bachelor’s degree in cancer- and global health-focused nursing at Dalhousie University as a Schulich Leader Scholar, and her PhD in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She also recently worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization. Her research has focused primarily on integrating mental and physical care.

Maike aspires to improve healthcare access for underserved communities by pioneering holistic treatment programs combining insights from medicine, psychiatry, and nursing to improve care for diverse patient populations.

All Publications


  • The prevalence of anxiety in general hospital inpatients: A systematic review and meta-analysis General Hospital Psychiatry Walker, J., van Niekerk (joint first author), M., Hobbs, H., Toynbee, M., Magill, N., Bold, R., Hampsey, E., Harriss, E., Frost, C., Sharpe, M. 2021; 72: 131-140
  • The effectiveness of inpatient consultation-liaison psychiatry service models: A systematic review of randomized trials GENERAL HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRY Toynbee, M., Walker, J., Clay, F., Hollands, L., van Niekerk, M., Harriss, E., Sharpe, M. 2021; 71: 11-19

    Abstract

    To systematically review randomized trials of the effectiveness of inpatient Consultation-Liaison (C-L) Psychiatry service models in improving patient outcomes, reducing length of hospital stay and decreasing healthcare costs.We searched databases including Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Ovid PsycINFO and EBSCO CINAHL for relevant trials. Two independent reviewers assessed articles and extracted data. The review is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42019120827.Eight trials were eligible for inclusion. All had methodological limitations and all were published more than ten years ago. None reported clear evidence that the C-L Psychiatry service model evaluated was more effective than usual medical care alone. All the service models tested focused on providing a consultation for patients identified by screening. Clinical heterogeneity precluded meta-analysis.Whilst we found no evidence that any of the inpatient C-L Psychiatry service models evaluated is effective, the sparseness of the literature and its methodological limitations preclude strong conclusions. The trials do, however, suggest that purely consultation-based service models may not be effective. A new generation of robust clinical trials of a wider range of C-L Psychiatry service models is now required to inform future service developments.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.04.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000668955100002

    View details for PubMedID 33906098

  • Major Depression and Survival in People With Cancer PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE Walker, J., Mulick, A., Magill, N., Symeonides, S., Gourley, C., Burke, K., Belot, A., Quartagno, M., van Niekerk, M., Toynbee, M., Frost, C., Sharpe, M. 2021; 83 (5): 410-416

    Abstract

    The question of whether depression is associated with worse survival in people with cancer remains unanswered because of methodological criticism of the published research on the topic. We aimed to study the association in a large methodologically robust study.We analyzed data on 20,582 patients with breast, colorectal, gynecological, lung, and prostate cancers who had attended cancer outpatient clinics in Scotland, United Kingdom. Patients had completed two-stage screening for major depression as part of their cancer care. These data on depression status were linked to demographic, cancer, and subsequent mortality data from national databases. We estimated the association of major depression with survival for each cancer using Cox regression. We adjusted for potential confounders and interactions between potentially time-varying confounders and the interval between cancer diagnosis and depression screening, and used multiple imputation for missing depression and confounder data. We pooled the cancer-specific results using fixed-effects meta-analysis.Major depression was associated with worse survival for all cancers, with similar adjusted hazard ratios (HRs): breast cancer (HR = 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.15-1.75), colorectal cancer (HR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.11-1.94), gynecological cancer (HR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.08-1.71), lung cancer (HR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.24-1.56), and prostate cancer (HR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.08-2.85). The pooled HR was 1.41 (95% CI = 1.29-1.54, p < .001, I2 = 0%). These findings were not materially different when we only considered the deaths (90%) that were attributed to cancer.Major depression is associated with worse survival in patients with common cancers. The mechanisms of this association and the clinical implications require further study.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000942

    View details for Web of Science ID 000669432500002

    View details for PubMedID 33938501

  • 'Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation' (DNACPR)-difficulty in discussions with older medical inpatients and their families: a survey of hospital doctors. BMJ supportive & palliative care Walker, J., Burke, K., Magill, N., van Niekerk, M., Wanat, M., Hobbs, H., Rocroi, I., Frost, C., Sharpe, M. 2021

    Abstract

    To determine, for doctors looking after older medical inpatients: (1) how difficult they find discussions about 'do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation' (DNACPR); (2) whether difficulty is associated with doctors' personal and professional characteristics; (3) how frequently DNACPR discussions are made more difficult by practical issues and by doctors' uncertainties.Survey of hospital doctors working on the acute medical wards of a UK NHS teaching hospital.171/200 (86%) of eligible doctors participated. 165 had experience of DNACPR discussions with older inpatients and/or their families and were included in our analysis. 'Difficulty' (defined as finding discussions 'fairly difficult' or 'difficult') was experienced by 52/165 (32%) for discussions with patients and 60/165 (36%) for discussions with families. Doctors with specific training in DNACPR discussions were less likely to have difficulty in discussions with patients. Older, more experienced doctors were less likely to have difficulty in discussions with families. Lack of time and place, and uncertainty about prognosis were the most frequently reported causes of difficulty.Many doctors have difficulty in DNACPR discussions. Training needs to include managing discussions with families, as well as with patients, and doctors need time and space to deliver this important part of their job.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjspcare-2021-003151

    View details for PubMedID 34261766

  • Different independent associations of depression and anxiety with survival in patients with cancer JOURNAL OF PSYCHOSOMATIC RESEARCH Walker, J., Magill, N., Mulick, A., Symeonides, S., Gourley, C., Toynbee, M., van Niekerk, M., Burke, K., Quartagno, M., Frost, C., Sharpe, M. 2020; 138: 110218

    Abstract

    Depression and anxiety have both been reported to predict worse subsequent survival in people with cancer. However, depression and anxiety are mutually associated and we lack understanding of their independent associations with survival. We therefore aimed to investigate these in a large sample of patients with common cancers.We analysed data on 19,966 patients with common cancers (breast, colorectal, gynaecological, lung and prostate) who had attended specialist NHS outpatient clinics in Scotland, UK. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) data were linked with demographic, cancer and mortality data. We estimated the independent associations of depression (HADS depression score) and anxiety (HADS anxiety score) with survival by fitting (separately for each cancer) Cox proportional hazards models which incorporated cubic splines to allow for non-linear associations. We also adjusted for potential confounders.The median time from HADS completion to death or censoring was 1.9 years. Greater depression was found to be strongly associated with worse survival from all cancers. When adjusted for anxiety, this association remained in males and increased in females. Greater anxiety was also associated with worse survival in nearly all cancers. However, when adjusted for depression, the association of anxiety with worse survival was lost. In females the association reversed direction so that greater anxiety was associated with better survival.Although often considered together as aspects of 'emotional distress', depression and anxiety have different independent associations with survival in patients with cancer and should therefore be considered separately.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2020.110218

    View details for Web of Science ID 000579175500002

    View details for PubMedID 32911441

  • The HOME Study: Statistical and economic analysis plan for a randomised controlled trial comparing the addition of Proactive Psychological Medicine to usual care, with usual care alone, on the time spent in hospital by older acute hospital inpatients TRIALS Magill, N., White, I. R., Walker, J., Burke, K., Toynbee, M., van Niekerk, M., Yang, F., Walker, S., Sculpher, M., Sharpe, M., Frost, C. 2020; 21 (1): 373

    Abstract

    Prolonged acute hospital stays are a problem for older people and for health services. Failure to effectively manage the psychological and social aspects of illness is an important cause of prolonged hospital stay. Proactive Psychological Medicine (PPM) is a new way of providing psychiatry services to medical wards which is proactive, focussed, intensive and integrated with medical care. The primary aim of PPM is to reduce the time older people spend in hospital because of unmanaged psychological and social problems. The HOME Study will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PPM.The study is a two-arm, parallel-group, randomised, controlled superiority trial with linked health economic analysis and an embedded process evaluation. The target population is people aged 65 years and older admitted to acute hospitals. Participants will be randomly allocated to either usual care plus PPM or usual care alone. The primary outcome is the number of days spent as an inpatient in a general hospital in the month following randomisation. Secondary outcomes include quality of life, cognitive function, independent functioning, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and experience of hospital stay. The cost-effectiveness of usual care plus PPM compared with usual care alone will be assessed using quality-adjusted life-years as an outcome as well as costs from the NHS perspective.This update to the published trial protocol gives a detailed plan of the statistical and economic analysis of The HOME Study.ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN86120296. Registered on 3 January 2018.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13063-020-04256-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000533404800002

    View details for PubMedID 32366328

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7197124

  • The HOME Study: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial comparing the addition of Proactive Psychological Medicine to usual care, with usual care alone, on the time spent in hospital by older acute hospital inpatients TRIALS Walker, J., Burke, K., Toynbee, M., van Niekerk, M., Frost, C., Magill, N., Walker, S., Sculpher, M., White, I. R., Sharpe, M. 2019; 20 (1): 483

    Abstract

    Prolonged acute hospital stays are a major problem for older people and for health services. Failure to effectively manage the psychological and social aspects of illness is an important cause of prolonged hospital stays. Proactive Psychological Medicine (PPM) is a new way of providing psychiatry services to medical wards. PPM is proactive, focussed, intensive and integrated with medical care. A major aim of PPM is to reduce the time older people spend in hospital because of unmanaged psychological and social problems. The HOME Study will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PPM.A two-arm parallel-group randomised controlled superiority trial, with a linked health economic analysis and an embedded process evaluation, will be conducted at three sites. A total of 3588 participants will be recruited and randomised to usual care or usual care plus PPM. The primary outcome is the number of days spent as an inpatient in a general hospital in the month (30 days) post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes for each participant (measured at 1 and 3 months) include quality of life, independent functioning, symptoms of anxiety and depression, cognitive function, and their experience of the hospital stay.The trial has been designed to produce findings that are generalisable to all older medical inpatients (including those with cognitive impairment). It will provide information on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PPM, which we hope will be of value to patients, clinicians, managers and service planners.ISRCTN86120296 . Registered on 3 January 2018.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13063-019-3502-5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000479240500002

    View details for PubMedID 31391073

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6686488

  • The prevalence of common psychiatric disorders in general hospital inpatients: A meta-review of systematic reviews van Niekerk, M., Sharpe, M., Walker, J., Toynbee, M., Steward, B., Harriss, E. PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. 2019: 141