The best way to make screening and assessment routine is to establish a clinic policy to screen every postpartum woman at each visit using a standardized screening tool with appropriate follow-up.
Other ways to ensure that a screening becomes part of your routine practice include:
- Establish a set screening and assessment protocol, and inform all office staff of procedures.
- Assign clear roles to staff (e.g., administrative assistant gives the screening tool to all women within their first year postpartum, the nurse scores the tool, and the physician interprets the results and reviews them with the patient).
- Increase awareness of PPD by placing posters, flyers, and other education materials (patient education materials) around the office. This action may facilitate discussion and spark women’s thoughts and concerns, or it may normalize an often stigmatizing issue and create a safe and comfortable environment in which to discuss concerns.
- Establish a referral network (discussed on next page) based on local resources. This will make referral and patient education time efficient.