Intermountain hospital now screens all mothers for emotional wellness before discharge

Intermountain Healthcare's Utah Valley Hospital in Provo now conducts an emotional wellness screening on every woman who gives birth at the hospital prior to discharge.

Utah Valley Hospital staff members previously educated mothers on the symptoms of emotional and mental issues — such as depression, anxiety and panic disorders — to look for at home and encouraged them to contact their physician, if needed. Now, women who demonstrate signs of emotional wellness issues during the screenings speak with a clinical social worker at the hospital, who also checks up on them after they're discharged.

Since implementing the screening protocol six months ago, Utah Valley Hospital has already seen an increase in the amount of women identified as needing emotional care.

"We now catch one or two more cases a day of mothers who have signs of mental or emotional challenges because we're performing this screening to all our mothers," said Mildora Leerhoff, RN, manager of Utah Valley's mother/baby unit. "These issues affect women across all demographics and they don’t have to have any previous history of mental illness."

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare will share the screening tool across all hospitals in the health system. Intermountain's American Fork (Utah) Hospital and Orem (Utah) Community Hospital have already made plans to adopt the new screening process.

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