PinnacleHealth is the only healthcare facility in the central Pennsylvania region that has developed and implemented a comprehensive program for early identification and treatment of PPD across the continuum. Early signs of depression are often not identified because routine screening and education is not provided at healthcare facilities. In 2010, an interdisciplinary team led by PinnacleHealth nurses developed an evidence-based program to offer education and early identification of post-partum depression.
Successful implementation of this program has involved nurses from all levels that care for mothers across the continuum of care. Staff nurses, nurse managers, educators and advanced practice nurses on the inpatient setting have altered care processes (documentation assessment screens, care plans and patient education materials) to ensure that all new mothers are screened for post-partum depression utilizing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screening Scale. Processes have also been developed to provide mothers determined at risk for post-partum depression to be seen by a behavioral health provider prior to hospital discharge. These services are provided at no cost through grant funding from the PinnacleHealth Foundation. Nurses make phone calls within 24-48 hours after discharge to reassess the post-partum depression risk and communicate the results to the obstetrician's office by phone and electronic documentation. Mothers determined at risk are referred to behavioral health services. As a result of this program, all mothers delivering at PinnacleHealth System are offered inpatient and outpatient screening for post-partum depression using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screening Scale (total of 6,000 women). More than 350 mothers screened at risk for post-partum depression received free behavioral health services (individual or group therapy) prior to discharge.