IMPARTS screening for women at risk of preterm birth potentially lifesaving
Find out how King’s Health Partners IMPARTS is being used to support women attending St Thomas’ Preterm Surveillance Clinic.
Integrating Mental & Physical healthcare: Research, Training & Services (IMPARTS) is an initiative funded by King’s Health Partners to integrate mental and physical healthcare in research, training and clinical services at Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.
IMPARTS has been developed to improve the support available for patients experiencing psychological distress such as anxiety, low mood or depression, while receiving treatment for a physical health condition.
(Members of the St Thomas' Preterm Surveillance Clinic [pictured], who were recently nominated for the Royal College of Midwives Team of the Year Award)
Jenny Carter, Senior Research Midwife in the Preterm Surveillance team, led the introduction of IMPARTS into the service and explains their findings and the benefits for their service:
"Many women at risk of preterm birth suffer with poor mental health and the team at St Thomas’ Preterm Surveillance Clinic sought ways to monitor and address this in the women they care for. They were particularly concerned because anxiety is associated with increased risk of preterm birth and suicide remains a major cause of maternal death.
"Having heard about the IMPARTS programme through King’s Health Partners, we planned to implement this novel method for screening and supporting women attending our clinic. Working with IMPARTS and their dedicated Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group, we developed a protocol, decided on validated instruments, self-help materials, care pathways and developed a warning system to be activated when anyone expressed suicidal ideation.
"IMPARTS launched in the service on 1st July 2021, and in the following three months, 296 questionnaires were completed by 168 women. The number of visits with completed questionnaires, per woman, ranged from one to six. Using data from the visit with the highest scores, screening indicated mild to very high levels of anxiety in 22% of women and depressive symptoms in 19% . Screening indicated eight women were experiencing “probable major depression” and three reported thoughts that they “would be better off dead or…hurting [themselves]” more than half the days or nearly every day.
"We believe this innovative screening programme is worthwhile and we have already been able to support several women in obtaining the extra care they needed. In two very serious cases, we may have prevented suicide. The team plan to use this screening method to gather data for research purposes, as well as evaluation of their preterm service. Additional fields have been added to their Preterm Clinical Network (PCN) database, allowing them to relate screening scores with other clinical factors and outcomes, as well as future health economic analysis using the PROMIS10 scores."