Children with epilepsy have a high prevalence rate of depression and suicidal ideation, making it critical that pediatric healthcare providers are monitoring their patients’ mental health. The Patient Health Questionnaire, or PHQ-9, is used by epileptologists to screen for depression. If scores indicated a minimum total that was reflective of moderate symptoms, patients were referred to pediatric psychologists. We were interested in seeing if our target population reflected the increased prevalence rate shown in the literature. This was measured through the participants’ scores on the PHQ-9. Our hypothesis predicted that epileptologists at Akron Children’s Hospital were refering to pediatric psychology if patients had higher scores that signified more or more severe symptoms.Using this questionnaire, we determined the rate of referral after the first administration and subsequent scores at Akron Children’s Hospital main campus. Using a retrospective chart review study design, statistical analysis found that 14.6% of patients had a score that qualified as moderate depression. Our findings support the hypothesis that those with elevated scores were being referred to mental health treatment. Additionally, patients who followed through on the recommendation for pediatric psychology had subsequent PHQ-9 scores that were lower than the one leading to referral. This suggests that the measure was identifying those who needed intervention and was reflective of progress from those who received treatment. These results support the practice of administering the PHQ-9 in epilepsy patients to track the severity of depression symptoms and refer to pediatric psychology.
Children with epilepsy have a higher prevalence rate of depression than seen in the average population. Due to this, the Patient Health Questionnaire, or PHQ-9, is used by epileptologists to screen for depression symptoms. If the patient has a score indicative of moderate symptoms, they are referred to pediatric psychology. Using this questionnaire and a retrospective chart review design, we determined the rate of referral after first administration and subsequent scores at Akron Children’s Hospital. The findings support that those with elevated scores were being referred to mental health treatment. Furthermore, receiving services through pediatric psychology were resulting in lower PHQ-9 scores, suggesting that the measure was both identifying those who needed intervention, and reflected progress from those who received treatment.