Title

A Quality Improvement Initiative to Improve Depression Screening in Prenatal and Postpartum Mothers

Date of Degree

12-2019

Document Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program

Nursing

Advisor

Anna C. Tabet

Abstract

Screening for depression during the prenatal and postpartum period is essential. The United States has the highest mortality rate in the developed world, with mental health complications being 1 of the top 5 reasons women expire within the 1st year of childbirth. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to increase depression screening during the gestational and postpartum periods in an obstetric and gynecological clinic. An administration schedule was created to administer the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The EPDS was administered during the initial prenatal, 32-weeks prenatal, and 6-week postpartum appointments. Women scoring 10 or higher on the EPDS were to receive a mental health referral. A retrospective chart review was completed to evaluate the assessment and diagnosis of the patients’ depression. Out of 40 participants, 37 (92%) women were screened with the EPDS. Eighteen out of 21 participants were screened during the initial prenatal appointment, 6 out of 6 (100%) of the participants were screened during the 32-week appointment, and 13 out of 13 (100%) were screened during the 6-week postpartum appointment. Of the women screened, 10 women scored equal to or higher than 10 on the EPDS. Of the women that qualified for a mental health referral, 5 out of the 10 (50%) of the participants received a referral. Perinatal depression screening is easy to accomplish and effective in identifying depressive symptoms. The implementation of this project increased the screening for depression in perinatal mothers and increased mental health referrals.

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