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Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2008 Dec;17(6):419-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2008.00568.x.

Effectiveness of home visits by mental health nurses for Japanese women with post-partum depression.

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School of Nursing, University of Kindai Himeji, Himeji, Japan.


Post-partum depression affects 10-13% of Japanese women, but many do not receive appropriate treatment or support. This intervention study evaluated the effectiveness of home visits by mental health nurses for Japanese women with post-partum depression. Eighteen post-partum women met the inclusion criteria and were randomly allocated into the intervention (n = 9) or control (n = 9) group at 1-2 months after giving birth. The intervention group received four weekly home visits by a mental health nurse. Control group participants received usual care. Two women in the intervention group did not complete the study. Depressive symptoms and quality of life were measured at 1 and 6 weeks' postintervention. In addition, participants completed an open-ended questionnaire on satisfaction and meaning derived from the home visits. Women in the intervention group had significant amelioration of depressive symptoms over time and reported positive benefits from the home visits, but there were no statistically significant differences between groups. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were observed at times 2 and 3 between groups in terms of increased median scores of physical, environmental, and global subscales, and the total average score of the World Health Organization/quality of life assessment instrument. On the psychological subscale, significant differences (P = 0.042) were observed between groups at time 2. The qualitative analysis of comments about home visitation revealed four categories related to 'setting their mind at ease', 'clarifying thoughts', 'improving coping abilities', and 'removing feelings of withdrawal from others'. These results suggest that home visits by mental health nurses can contribute to positive mental health and social changes for women with post-partum depression. A larger trial is warranted to test this approach to care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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