An improved approach to screening of eating disorder risk in a pediatric psychiatric care facility

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Eating disorders (EDs) have emerged as a prominent but underrecognized problem in the pediatric population from lack of screening. Reviewed were multiple screening tool options for risk of EDs to utilize in the admission assessment at a pediatric psychiatric care facility, resulting in the use of the Sick-Control-One-Fat-Food (SCOFF) questionnaire. Additionally, screening on admission was moved from nursing staff to that of the project's population--the medical group of nurse practitioners (NPs) who facilitated referrals based on results. The goals of this quality improvement project included a 100% screening rate for all patients aged 6 to 18 years admitted to the facility and a subsequent 100% referral rate for all positive screenings to psychiatry and the registered dietitian. These changes were implemented at the facility over eight weeks with weekly data collection and analysis comparing weekly census reports to SCOFF screened admissions and positive screenings to the number of referrals made. Every two weeks in the implementation, Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles were used in meetings with the medical group NPs to address and overcome barriers in implementation. The results showed overall improved screening rates, but the goals of 100% screening and 100% referral rates were not met. An average of 88% screening rate and 85% referral rate for positive screenings were achieved. Findings of this study inform future practice to utilize a risk for EDs screening tool that is valid, reliable, brief, and easy to score implemented in similar populations. Additionally, more time should be allowed in implementation--at least 12-weeks to allow for more data collection and PDSA cycle completions.




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