Standardized Postpartum Depression Screening of NICU Mothers

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Clive Tucceri (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:

Abstract: The purpose of this QI project was to determine the feasibility of instituting a standardized postpartum depression screening guideline in the NICU. A draft guideline was developed that instructed medical providers to screen all NICU mothers who read English or Spanish. Screenings were to be performed at two weeks , one month , four months , six months postpartum and at discharge. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used for screening. Documentation in the neonate's progress notes included negative (score less than 12) or positive (>/= 12) screening results and whether referral for services was rendered. Demographic information and compliance rates were gathered from chart audits. During implementation , 178 neonates were present , and the average weekly census was 61.8 neonates. There were 168 appropriate screenings , and 43 screenings were completed for a compliance rate of 25.6%. Of the completed screenings , eight required referrals and eight referrals were documented (100%). Identified barriers included difficulties with providers being able to connect with mothers at the bedside , discomfort with ability to manage care for a mother who screened positive , and ease of tracking. This QI project demonstrated successfully the feasibility of implementing a guideline to standardize PPD screening in the NICU. However , to address implementation barriers , it is recommended that the guideline specify who is responsible for oversight and administering screenings , increase provider education about community resources for mothers , and modify electronic health records to improve documentation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
postpartum depression, neonatal intensive care unit, quality improvement, depression screening

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