To describe the development of an assessment tool for antenatal psychosocial risk factors associated with poor postpartum outcomes.
A survey of Ontario family physicians established a need for an antenatal psychosocial health assessment (ALPHA) form. A critical literature review identified important antenatal factors for inclusion on the form. Focus groups of obstetrical care providers indicated acceptance of the provider-completed ALPHA; their feedback led to the development of a self-report ALPHA. Satisfaction, yield and reliability of the self-report and provider-completed ALPHA forms were studied and found to be comparable.
Physicians and patients reported good satisfaction and usefulness of the ALPHA form in identifying antenatal psychosocial risk factors. The provider ALPHA was further tested in clinical practice. ALPHA endorsement was obtained from physicians, nurses and midwives.
A program planning process, which included multidisciplinary involvement, evaluation and endorsement by professional organizations, aided the development, refinement and application of the ALPHA forms as primary care tools. ALPHA topic headings are incorporated into the official 2000 Ontario Antenatal Record and the ALPHA adopted for use on Prince Edward Island.