Doctor of Nursing Practice
Date of Defense
Postpartum depression (PPD) can lead to increased risk of child abuse, delays in infant development, and increased medical costs (Earls et al., 2019). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all mothers of infants 0-6 months be screened for PPD during well-child visits. Despite these recommendations, many pediatric offices have no PPD screening process.
This quality improvement project utilized a standardized tool to screen mothers of infants 0-6 months for PPD during their infants’ well-child visits. Mothers who screened positive for PPD were offered referrals to treatment resources and given the opportunity to participate in two follow-up telephone interviews about their experiences.
During the 12-week implementation period, 83.5% of eligible mothers (152/182) were screened for PPD. Fourteen mothers (9.2%) screened positive for PPD, and six of those individuals were interviewed by telephone. Of mothers interviewed, two felt they did not have PPD and did not seek treatment, three had been previously diagnosed with depression and were receiving services, and one planned to connect with treatment resources but had not done so five weeks after her initial screening. This mother identified barriers to treatment, including lack of time, transportation, and childcare.
Implications for Practice
Screening and referring mothers of infants for PPD is feasible in pediatric primary care and gives objective data that providers can use for follow-up counseling.
Harkins, Melissa, "Screening and Referring for Postpartum Depression in Pediatric Primary Care" (2020). Dissertations. 995.