Since a pilot postnatal midwifery home care program for new mothers was launched at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Women’s Wellness and Research Center last year, more than 1,200 new mothers and their babies have benefited from the service.
The program, which is the first of its kind in Qatar, is based on international best practice and adapted to support the local community. It aims to provide postpartum care to women and their babies within the comfort of their own home in the days or weeks following the birth of their baby. While there are plans to expand the service, it is currently only available to new mothers who have a high-risk pregnancy or caesarian delivery.
“A key feature of the service is providing important information to new mothers, identifying when additional support is needed, and intervening when required. Our team of four midwives conducts an average of 200 visits per month, with eight to ten visits each day,” stated Sister Haila Swaid Salim, Executive Director of Nursing, WWRC.
Sister Salim says during the post-partum period new mothers and their newborns are vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. She says providing support during this time can help in the early detection and diagnosis of postnatal complications.
“The early detection of postnatal complications has resulted in improved patient outcomes. We have been able to assist women who were experiencing post-delivery complications to get timely and appropriate referrals to specialist care and we have also helped new mothers navigate the various care services available to them,” notes Sister Salim.
She says the midwives are supporting mothers and their newborns to safely transition from hospital to home by identifying and preventing many common maternal and newborn health issues. She said the home visits can also help boost new moms’ confidence, especially with first-time mothers.
“The program is doing exactly what it was intended to do, which is helping new mothers address many of the common issues encountered during the early postpartum period by tailoring the care to each patient. The use of a postnatal care pathway has been shown to be the best way of providing individualized care for mothers and babies, according to international guidelines by the World Health Organization and the UK-based NICE program (National Institute of Clinical Excellence),” said Sister Salim.
In addition to increasing patient satisfaction and supporting the safe early discharge of new mothers and their babies, Sister Salim said the program has helped reduce hospital readmission rates through the early identification of complications and prompt referral of patients to appropriate community health service providers, including mobile doctors. She said the program has also resulted in reduced incidence of postpartum infections by providing reassessment of C-section wounds and follow-up instruction on wound care.
According to Sister Salim, the program has been well received by patients, with one Qatari mother who was struggling to breastfeed and who had a newborn with infant jaundice praising the knowledge of the midwives.
Another new mother who used the service said it alleviated many of her concerns and gave her more confidence in her own abilities.
The topic of Understanding and Advancing Patient Safety at Home will be featured in a learning session at the upcoming Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare. The session will be jointly presented on Sunday, 24 March by Dr. Tejal Gandhi, Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, and Ms. Nadya Al Anzi. More details can be found online at MEF2019.hamad.qa