Sutherland Hospital's new pregnancy and early parenting education program gets a digital boost

Nurturing parental support: Baby Evie and Chantelle with Attorney General Mark Speakman, midwife Chris Findlayson, district director of nursing and midwifery Kim Olesen and midwifery and nursing manager Rebecca Moore. Picture: John Veage
Nurturing parental support: Baby Evie and Chantelle with Attorney General Mark Speakman, midwife Chris Findlayson, district director of nursing and midwifery Kim Olesen and midwifery and nursing manager Rebecca Moore. Picture: John Veage

Paper pamphlets are increasingly making way for digital resources at Sutherland Hospital, to keep parents-to-be in the know.

Finding that traditional brochures are becoming redundant, hospital staff decided to do something about it, as they realised patients preferred the easier and convenient access to online information.

The idea is to improve pregnancy and early parenting education for families.

This month it launched the Pregnancy and Parenting Information website, which aims to provide up-to-date evidence-based information to women and their families, in an effort to address a lack of understanding and confusion regarding pregnancy and post-natal care.

The need for the digital push was identified following focus groups, surveys and a review of current resources, which highlighted confusion in the community, and that existing resources did not reflect the latest evidence.

The website will be a central point of reference for patients clinicians about models of care, referrals to maternity services.

The content was developed by midwives, obstetricians, physiotherapists, paediatricians, dieticians and lactation consultants at the hospital.

A suite of short films cover nutrition in pregnancy, when to call the midwife, information about baby's movements during pregnancy, vitamin k for newborns, breastfeeding, bathing and post-natal physiotherapy.

Midwifery and nursing manager of women's and children's health, Rebecca Moore, says the idea is to have an engaging site on offer.

"During the antenatal and postnatal period, women are currently given numerous pamphlets and handouts," she said.

"Not only can this cause confusion, but the paper used poses an environmental issue.

"Likewise, during the post-natal period, many women don't have the opportunity to access classes being run in the hospital for a variety of reasons.

"Compiling this information into an online resource allows women and families to access the materials at a time that suits them without the need for extensive pamphlet distribution."

Visual resources: A new website has been launched at Sutherland Hospital to support parents-to-be. Picture: John Veage

Visual resources: A new website has been launched at Sutherland Hospital to support parents-to-be. Picture: John Veage

Sutherland Hospital is also offering another new model of care to pregnant women, the Maternity Antenatal Postnatal Service (MAPS).

Women recruited will be provided with antenatal care from a midwife for the duration of their pregnancy and, following the birth, the midwife will provide support at the family's home for up to two weeks. The midwife will also collaborate with other healthcare professionals as needed.

The hospital is the second hospital in NSW to offer the model, which was initially piloted by the Royal Hospital for Women.

The aims are to increase satisfaction, confidence with parenting skills, breastfeeding initiation and duration, knowledge of physical and psychosocial supports and continuity of care. It also aims to reduce in-patient hospital stays.

Midwifery unit manager of community maternity services, Simone Payn, says midwifery staff are passionate about continuing to improve care for women and their families during and after pregnancy.

"South Eastern Sydney Local Health District is the first local health district in NSW to introduce MAPS," she said.

"The service is available for women at any gestation who live in Sutherland Shire, and is the first model to actively promote a relationship with child and family health services - helping to build a long term relationship between the hospital and the community.

"We have six midwives who will deliver the service, and it is in addition to Midwifery Group Practice - a model that has been hugely popular since it launched at Sutherland Hospital in September last year."

New care model: Sutherland Hospital midwives Michelle Rabbett, Michelle Gilmore, Jacky Gosby, Renee Goddard, Renae Toogood and Alisha Dewes.

New care model: Sutherland Hospital midwives Michelle Rabbett, Michelle Gilmore, Jacky Gosby, Renee Goddard, Renae Toogood and Alisha Dewes.

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