Patients with seizure disorders have relatively high rates of comorbid psychological and sleep disorders. Because these can profoundly affect quality of life, early recognition and treatment are of potential benefit. As a quality improvement project, we evaluated the performance and utility of a set of mental health and sleep quality screening questionnaires in patients admitted to a VA seizure monitoring unit (SMU).
Questionnaires, including the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) checklist (PCL), the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory-31 (QOLIE-31), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), were administered to 100 patients admitted to the Portland VAMC SMU. Scored results were entered into the electronic medical record (EMR) within 72 h of hospital admission. We assessed how many patients exceeded questionnaire cutoff scores, and whether these patients had prior mental health or sleep diagnoses or evaluations within the six months preceding admission. Following hospital discharge, providers completed a survey regarding the utility of the questionnaire results. We also reviewed EMR documented mental health and sleep visits during the six months following the SMU admission.
Forty-seven patients (47.5%) exceeded the cutoff score for the BDI-II, including 15 without an admission diagnosis of depression, and 14 who had not seen a mental health provider in the previous six months. Similarly, 33 patients (33.3%) exceeded the cutoff score for the PCL, including nine without a diagnosis of PTSD. Scores on the BDI-II and PCL were highly correlated with the QOLIE-31 total score (r = 0.7). Seventy patients (70.7%) exceeded the cutoff score for poor sleep quality, and 37 did not have a sleep disorder diagnosis. Providers indicated that the questionnaire results were moderately or very helpful in most cases and influenced discharge recommendations to patients and referring providers in more than 50% of cases. Discharge recommendations for mental health or sleep follow-up were associated with EMR documented consultations within the six months following SMU admission.
The results suggest that a standard set of screening questionnaires can identify SMU patients at risk for mental health and sleep disorders, including patients not currently diagnosed or recently evaluated. Questionnaire results were perceived as helpful by providers and influenced discharge recommendations. Given that these disorders are treatable and have a major influence on health-related quality of life, the effort to collect and document this information is well justified.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.