We set up a 10-session antenatal group for couples with a history of traumatic events associated with becoming a parent (fertility difficulties, miscarriage, stillbirth and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admission).

The group was intentionally set up to meet the needs of couples who did not meet threshold for PTSD but were still experiencing significant psychological distress. Therefore, before the start of the group, we also did a PTSD screen and referred expectant parents for individual trauma-focused therapies if they met the threshold.

We administered the CORE-OM before the first session and at the end of the last session to measure change in "psychological distress" over the course of the group programme. In conjunction with the CORE-OM, we also used the CORE-10 (and the group session rating scales) at the end of each individual session to monitor changes in psychological distress on a session by session basis.

This was built into the group time and every session ended in the same way so it was expected by the group members. As it is only 10 questions, it never took very long and we never had any resistance to completing it each session.

Afterwards, one of the group facilitators led a brief grounding/mindfulness exercise to "bring everyone back into the present' and leave the session with a sense of calm. During this time, the other co-facilitator would briefly review all the completed measures and ascertain if there were any concerns that needed to be picked up with individuals before they left (i.e. a deterioration of difficulties).

Administering the CORE-10 every session was really helpful to understand patterns of change across sessions, critical points in the group programme in which change happened, and differences in change within couples and the wider group across time.

The CORE-10 also really lent itself to sessional completion in a group programme as it has a specific risk question "I have made plans to end my life" and trauma question "unwanted images or memories have been distressing me", which may not have otherwise come up in a group discussion and therefore can still be monitored and escalated if required.

The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) in partnership with experts in the field of perinatal mental health from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) have been commissioned to provide guidance on best practice and how to overcome common barriers to implementation by producing an Outcome Measurement Implementation Manual and by disseminating the manual, case studies and learning via 12 regional training workshops in collaboration with Perinatal SCNs.

Click here to download the manual


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