Standardizing Perinatal Depression in the Ambulatory Setting

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Perinatal depression (PND) affects one out of seven women in the United States. Professional organizations such as the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians provide recommendations to clinicians on the screening and treatment of PND. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to improve patient outcomes by developing and implementing a standard operating procedure (SOP) to standardize PND screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Methods An SOP was created defining times in the perinatal period that the EPDS would be administered over six weeks. Data collection included the number of completed EPDS screens, the score, and the number of referrals to the Maternal Mental Health Clinic (MMHC).

Results Data collection was analyzed using SPSS (version 27) to conduct a chi-square analysis. Results concluded that the number of positive PND screens pre-implementation (8, n = 58) was not significantly different from the number of positive screens post-implementation (26, n = 131), 𝜒𝜒2 (1, n = 189) = 1.00, p = .318. Additionally, the number of referrals post-implementation (10, n = 131) was significantly greater than the number of referrals pre-implementation (0, n = 58), 𝜒𝜒2 (1,n = 189) = 4.68, p = .031.

Conclusion The SOP aligned the project site with current recommendations from ACOG and filled the gap in PND screening processes that currently existed. The site saw an increase in the total number of PND screenings and positive PND screens, and referrals to the MMHC helping to improve patient outcomes.

DNP project