Improving screening of eating disorders in rural community adolescents

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Eating disorders are the least likely to be screened for in adolescents aged 12 to 21 years. In many rural communities the only screening done is during a school physical questionnaire in which the child is asked if they are happy with their weight. Many clinicians are not comfortable investigating these concerns and are unsure what resources are available. A rural clinic was observed to have no formal screening tool in place for eating disorders among adolescents aged 12 to 21 years. This project sought to improve screening in the stated age group within the clinic setting. The SCOFF screening tool, consisting of five questions, was administered to adolescents during any clinic visit to any of three providers in the facility. Nursing staff offered the SCOFF tool during intake of the patients and prior to seeing the clinician. Out of 67 patients who were seen in an 8-week period, 19 were offered the SCOFF screening, equating to an overall 28.4% increase in screening. Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) evaluations were done at 4-week intervals with the intention to further improve the number of screenings. This did improve screenings periodically throughout the project showing improvement in some weeks as high as 100%.




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