Evaluation of the Western Perinatal Emotional Health Program (PEHP) Trial

Project Type - Mental health, Program evaluation and review


The Victorian Department of Health (the Department) has appointed Health Outcomes International (HOI) to undertake an evaluation of the Western Metropolitan Perinatal Emotional Health Program Trial (the Trial).

The two primary objectives of the evaluation of the PEHP Trial was to:

  1.  Analyse data that has been collected by PEHP clinicians over an 18 month period between October 2013 and May 2015.
  2. Conduct a qualitative evaluation to assess whether the program is being delivered as intended and is consistent with best practice and the Framework for the National Perinatal Depression Initiative.

The focus of the evaluation was to provide an assessment of the following PEHP elements:

  • Ascertain the characteristics of the clients and referrers assessing the program, and the assessments and treatments delivered as part of the program
  • Determine whether the program model is appropriate to meet the program objectives and identify the factors that contribute to, or impact upon, the effective and efficient delivery of the program
  • Determine whether the program model is consistent with the Framework for the National Perinatal Depression Initiative
  • Examine the alignment of the Trial’s service model with the Beyondblue ‘Clinical Practice Guidelines: Depression and related disorders – anxiety, bipolar disorder and puerperal psychosis – in the perinatal period, A guideline for primary care health professionals February 2011’
  • Verify that the program model is being delivered as intended, and recommend changes to the program model to enable the program to meet the program objective in a more effective and efficient manner
  • Observe the extent to which women and families are benefiting from the implementation of the program
  • Outline whether there are costs associated with any potential program model modifications
  • Determine whether there is benefit in continuing the program at Sunshine Hospital including any recommended changes to the program model and its associated costs
  • Determine whether the program model could be transferred to other metropolitan regions, including any required modifications
  • Identify what strategies have been or could be established to ensure sustainable and continuing practice and/or minimise negative impacts. Identify alternative approaches or strategies that could be adopted.

HOI delivered a Final Evaluation Report in December 2015 that presented findings of the evaluation in respect to:

•     Governance, trial design and implementation

•     Direct services to clients

•     Capacity building, liaison and co-ordination

Noting that the Trial ended 30 June 2015, the evaluation also reported a number of opportunities for improvement to maintain the Trial’s programming and its benefits over time, as well as informing future program design for similar programs and/or in other catchments.