How do maternity units and health centres meet the needs of mothers and babies in the post-natal period?
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 3/2011
This report presents the results of supervision carried out in 2010 by the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision with care of mothers and babies in the post-natal period. The report gives an overview of how the health trusts and the municipalities define, organize and carry out care this care.
As part of supervision, we examined the organizational aspects of the management of this service: plans and routines in all the maternity units and health centres in 50 municipalities, including six urban districts in Oslo. We also based our findings and assessments on descriptions in the patient records of the continuum of patient care from the time of the birth to 2-3 weeks afterwards for 100 mothers and their babies.
Supervision showed that there is great variation in the content and the quality of care for women and babies in the post-natal period. There is a significant gap in the continuum of patient care from discharge from the maternity unit until the health centre provides follow-up for the family and the baby. A gap in the service so short time after a birth represents a threat to patient safety. Maternity units and health centres have not adapted the services they offer in the post-natal period to the short time women are in the maternity unit after giving birth. The needs of individual women are not identified and met, and no binding agreements have been made between the different health services.
In the opinion of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision, maternity units and health centres must assess whether the risk for deficiencies in the service is acceptable. Together they must ensure a continuum of care during the post-natal period.
Care during the post-natal period must be improved by ensuring:
- Clear clinical requirements provided by the authorities for care during the post-natal period
- Clear division of tasks and responsibility between the different health services for care during the post-natal period
- Binding cooperation between the different health services
- Individually adapted care provided in the maternity units
- Individually adapted care provided in the health centres.
The results of supervision should be used to systematize care for mothers and babies in the post-natal period, to improve the quality of the care provided in maternity units (specialized health service) and health centres (municipal health service), and to improve cooperation between the two services.
Report from the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 3/2011 (pdf in Norwegian)