Improving health outcomes involves incorporating quality healthcare practices into inpatient care. According to Mosadeghrad &Woldemichael(2017), quality healthcare practices reduce the chances of medical errors, which have been confirmed as the third leading cause of deaths in current healthcare facilities. The Institute of Medicine as well came with a documentary that addressed strategies by which healthcare organizations can prevent medical errors. However, medical errors still dominate in hospitals due to poor healthcare approaches. One of the major errors witnessed in hospitals is failing to recognize poststroke depression, which has a significant impact on patient recovery. In this discussion, the PHQ screening tool, which is majorly used to assess and diagnose depression in patients, will be discussed. The tool is of great benefit as it helps healthcare workers to identify signs of depression in stroke patients to avoid unexpected deaths.
There are two PHQ screening tools, which include PHQ-2 and PHQ-9 tools. Both of them are used to identify signs of depression. PHQ-2 is mainly used to rule out the depression in suspected patients. The instrument asks questions about mood and anhedonia, which are common identifiers of depression. Once the patient has admitted having been experiencing symptoms of depression such as hopelessness and displeasure, the PHQ-9 screening is introduced. The PGQ-9 screening tool is used to confirm the results identified by the PHQ-2 (McMullen, 2020).Thus, applying both tools can help healthcare providers to identify signs of depression. However, these tools function only when patients are in a position to answer the questionnaires appropriately. Healthcare professionals should wait until patients return to the conscious state before using the tools. One advantage of the PHQ tools is that they are sensitive and easier to use in assessing for depression. The tool is easily accessible on the internet, and healthcare providers can easily access it.
Studies have shown that poststroke patients who develop depression are likely to develop more health problems such as recurrent vascular events, suboptimal recovery, and poor quality of life (Towfighi et al., 2017). The mentioned health problems can lead to recurrent strokes that can lead to death. In this case, healthcare professionals should come up with strategies to mitigate such problems by treating post-stroke depression.After patients recover from a stroke, the patient health questionnaire (PHQ) should be handed to them so that they can analyze and report their symptoms. Majorly, the questionnaires consist of several symptoms related to depression, and patients are required to identify those that they are frequently experiencing. After that, healthcare providers analyze the filled questionnaires to rule out depression. Those with poststroke depression arethen managed appropriately through counseling and administration of anti-depressive medications. Thus, chances of developing health problems related to poststroke depression will reduce due to timely addressing of the expected medical errors.
Based on the discussion above, medical errors are common in healthcare facilities, and the healthcare team should identify approaches to mitigate them. Poststroke depression is one of the common conditions that may be ignored by physicians and nurses. In this case, strategies to identify the problem should be initiated before stroke patients experience resultant health problems. The discussed PHQ screening tool is appropriate for this task, and healthcare professionals should utilize it to save the lives of stroke patients. Thus, applying the PHQ screening tool is one of the strategies to prevent the occurrence of medical errors in healthcare facilities.
McMullen, M. (2020). Educating Nurses About Poststroke Depression and Using the PHQ-2/9.
Mosadeghrad, A. M., & Woldemichael, A. (2017). Application of quality management in promoting patient safety and preventing medical errors. In Impact of Medical Errors and Malpractice on Health Economics, Quality, and Patient Safety(pp. 91-112). IGI Global.
Towfighi, A., Ovbiagele, B., El Husseini, N., Hackett, M. L., Jorge, R. E., Kissela, B. M., … & Williams, L. S. (2017). Poststroke depression: a scientific statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 48(2), e30-e43.
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