Publicly-funded homebirth models in Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2012, 25 (4), pp. 152 - 158
Issue Date:
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Background: Publicly-funded homebirth programs in Australia have been developed in the past decade mostly in isolation from each other and with limited published evaluations. There is also distinct lack of publicly available information about the development and characteristics of these programs. We instigated the National Publicly-funded Homebirth Consortium and conducted a preliminary survey of publicly-funded homebirth providers. Aim: To outline the development of publicly-funded homebirth models in Australia. Methods: Providers of publicly-funded homebirth programs in Australia were surveyed using an on-line survey in December 2010. Questions were about their development, use of policy and general operational issues. A descriptive analysis of the quantitative data and content analysis of the qualitative data was undertaken. Findings: In total, 12 programs were identified and 10 contributed data to this paper. The service providers reported extensive multidisciplinary consultation and careful planning during development. There was a lack of consistency in data collection throughout the publicly-funded homebirth programs due to different databases, definitions and the use of different guidelines. Discussion: Publicly-funded homebirth services followed different routes during their development, but essentially had safety and collaboration with stakeholders, including women and obstetricians, as central to their process. Conclusion: The National Publicly-funded Homebirth Consortium has facilitated a sharing of resources, processes of development and a linkage of homebirth services around the country. This analysis has provided information to assist future planning and developments in models of midwifery care. It is important that births of women booked to these programs are clearly identified when their data is incorporated into existing perinatal datasets. © 2011 Australian College of Midwives.
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