Implementation of a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Screening Program in Northern Arizona


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

The purpose of this program was to develop a process for screening, educating, and offering referral resources to mothers identified as suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Proposed Change

With 400,000 infants born in the United States every year to mothers who are depressed, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most underdiagnosed, underreported, and undertreated complications of childbirth. Universal screening has not yet been mandated within the United States, which leaves many organizations struggling to meet the recognized needs of this vulnerable population with little guidance. In an effort to provide education, screening, and referral resources to pregnant women in rural, northern Arizona, a community-centered, interdisciplinary program was developed in a hospital setting that initiated perinatal mood and anxiety disorder screening.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

This was achieved by first gathering a nurse-lead multidisciplinary team to evaluate current screening, education, and referral practices as well as financial resources. This information was compared with current evidence-based practice and a plan was developed that would facilitate the availability of screening for all newly delivered mothers, education for mothers and staff, and improved availability of referral resources, including a grant-funded support group. In the first 4 months of the program, 300 mothers were screened, nearly 60 women were found to be at risk of the perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, and the support group was thriving.

Implications for Nursing Practice

This presentation demonstrates that hospital nurses who act as leaders can be change agents by collaborating with other members of the health care team to initiate innovative, evidence-based programs.