Improving Adherence to Atypical Antipsychotic Agent Screening Guidelines in Pediatric Patients: A Quality Improvement Project Within an Integrated Community Mental Health Setting

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Background: Approximately 14% to 20% of children and adolescents have a mental health problem. Atypical antipsychotic agents are used to treat behavioral, emotional, and mental health problems in children and adolescents. A discrepancy between best practices and actual practices exists. Objective: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to increase adherence above baseline, through implementation of a checklist, to recommended screening guidelines in children, ages 4 to 18, prescribed atypical antipsychotic agents over 12 weeks. Design/Results: Aggregate comparison of the mean ranks of scores were tested with the Mann–Whitney U test, U = 1,087.5, n1 = n2 = 70, total N =140, p < .001. Variables of body mass index, blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting glucose, fasting lipids, personal history, and family history were observed and tested using the chi-square with Fisher’s exact tests and are significant at or above 99% confidence level (p < .01). Conclusion: Educating mental health providers, child and adolescent psychiatrists, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners on recommended screening guidelines and implementing a checklist had a measurable effect on increasing adherence to the recommended screening guidelines in a community mental health setting.

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