Midwives' emotional wellbeing: Impact of conducting Structured Antenatal Psychosocial Assessments (SAPSA)

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Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2009, 22 (3), pp. 82 - 88
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Research problem To investigate the impact of conducting structured antenatal psychosocial assessments (SAPSA) on midwives emotional wellbeing. The SAPSA includes screening and assessment tools for domestic violence, childhood trauma, drug and alcohol use, depression, and vulnerability factors. Participants and methods Registered midwives who had conducted the SAPSA with women during the first hospital booking visit at two hospitals in NSW. Data was collected by means of focus group interviews. Results Four sub-themes were identified that directly impacted upon the midwives emotional wellbeing: cumulative complex disclosures, frustration and stress, lack of support for midwives and unhealthy coping strategies. Discussion and conclusions There was a cumulative emotional effect with some midwives utilising unhealthy strategies to cope with feelings of frustration, inadequacy and vicarious trauma. Establishment of structured referral pathways for women and supportive systems for midwives is essential prior to implementing the SAPSA.
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