Time to listen: Strategies to improve hospital-based postnatal care

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Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2008, 21 (3), pp. 99 - 105
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Background: In Australia and internationally, women report high levels of dissatisfaction with hospital-based postnatal care. Aim: To design and implement strategies to improve hospital-based postnatal care at a Sydney metropolitan hospital. Method: This was an Action Research study. In Phase One, midwives considered the literature and participated in group discussions and interviews to determine their perceptions of postnatal care and the factors that facilitate or hinder the provision of quality care. In Phase Two, midwives participated in 12 working group meetings to design strategies to improve care. Results: Several important principles of postnatal care were described, including building a relationship with women, meeting their individual needs, being flexible in approach and providing continuity of care. 'Listening to women', 'being there,' and 'normalising experiences and expectations' were believed to be critical to achieving these principles. A key strategy 'One to One Time' was designed to provide women with an uninterrupted period of time each day with a midwife who was available to listen to their needs and concerns and discuss issues related to their health and that of their baby. Conclusion: Midwives designed and implemented strategies that they believed would improve in-hospital postnatal care. © 2008 Australian College of Midwives.
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