A Quality Improvement Project That Implements Universal Adolescent Depression Screening Essay

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Depression is a common mental health disorder, affecting more than two million adolescents in the United States each year (National Institute of Mental Health, 2015). The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends adolescents are screened for major depressive disorder (USPSTF, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to summarize a quality improvement project that implements universal adolescent depression screening in a pediatric primary clinic using Kotter’s change management theory and model for change as the framework for this process improvement.
Adolescent Depression
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people age 15 to 34 years of age (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2015). More than 25% of all high school age adolescents in the United States who took part in a youth risk behavior survey felt symptoms of depression almost every day for two or more consecutive weeks (CDC, 2012). Adolescents who are depressed are at higher risk for suicide. Early recognition and treatment is crucial to preventing suicide attempts (King & Vidourek, 2012). Screening for adolescent depression is an important step in implementing the Institute of Medicine (2001) recommendation for improving safety in health care. In addition, the care provided must be patient centered and equitable. This quality improvement project aims to provide screening for adolescent depression for all patients age 12 years and older during routine well-child visits.
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