Characteristics and service needs of women and babies admitted to residential parenting units in New South Wales: a mixed methods study
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2018, pp. 1 - 29 (29)
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Aims and Objectives: This study aims to examine the characteristics and service needs of women and babies admitted to Residential Parenting Services (RPS) in the first year following birth in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Background: In Australia there is a tiered system to support maternal, child and family health, which includes residential parenting services (RPS). Design: Sequential explanatory mixed methods design. Methods: Individual patient data were obtained from a random review of 10% of all medical records (n = 300 of 3011 admissions) of women with an infant of less than 12 months of age who were admitted to RPS in 2013. Following review of the medical records, qualitative data were collected via interviews with eight women who accessed RPS. Chi square analysis and student t-testing were used to analyse quantitative data. Qualitative data were analysed using a descriptive interpretive approach. An integrative approach was taken in reporting the findings Results: Women admitted to the RPS were on average 32 years of age, were Australian born (72%), had a university qualification (40%) and most were employed. The majority of women were primiparous (60%), and had a vaginal birth (61%). Women with male infants were much more likely to be admitted to the RPS (58%) compared to the NSW male to female ratio (51.3% versus 48.7%). Over 50% of women reported mental health issues with 27% having an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score ≥13 on admission. The primary reason women sought parenting support were for sleep and settling (83%). During their stay, services used by women included social workers (44%), psychologists (52%) and psychiatrists (4.5%). Conclusion: Women who access RPS report psychosocial and mental health issues. Services provided by RPS support women during this challenging early parenting period by providing multidisciplinary, holistic and peer support. Relevance to clinical practice A high prevalence of mental health issues identified in this study indicated a need for ongoing training and support for RPS staff. Ensuring clinicians have the appropriate skill sets to best support their clientele will maximise the outcomes for women and families who access RPS during the early parenting period.
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