June Andrews Horowitz, Ph.D., R.N., Christine A. Murphy, Ph.D., R.N., Katherine E. Gregory, Ph.D., R.N. and Joanne Wojcik, M.S., R.N.
The authors are affiliated with the W. F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (e-mail: email@example.com ). William M. Glazer, M.D., is editor of this column.
This column describes findings and best-practice recommendations from CARE (Communicating and Relating Effectively), a prospective randomized study in which 5,169 mothers were screened for postpartum depression. The prevalence rate was 13%. Results support use of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screening Scale and a diagnostic assessment for those who screen positive. Of the 674 mothers with positive screens, 26% were not asked about their emotional state by clinicians. Screening must be linked to treatment options via referral and follow-up. Best-practice strategies for implementing screening include educating clinicians and postpartum women.