ABSTRACT Previous qualitative studies suggest a lack of maternal confidence in care of their newborn child upon discharge into the community. This observation was supported by discussion with healthcare professionals and mothers at University College London Hospital (UCLH), highlighting specific areas of concern, in particular identifying and managing common neonatal presentations. The aim of this study was to design and introduce a checklist, addressing concerns, to increase maternal confidence in care of their newborn child.
Based on market research, an 8-question checklist was designed, assessing maternal confidence in: feeding, jaundice, nappy care, rashes and dry skin, umbilical cord care, choking, bowel movements, and vomiting. Mothers were assessed as per the checklist, and received a score representative of their confidence in neonatal care. Mothers were followed up with a telephone call, and were assessed after a 7-day-period. Checklist scores before as compared to after the follow-up period were analysed. This process was repeated for three study cycles, with the placement of information posters on the ward prior to the second study cycle, and the stapling of the checklist to the mother’s personal child health record (PCHR) prior to the third study cycle.
A total of 99 mothers on the Maternity Care Unit at UCLH were enrolled in the study, and 92 were contactable after a 7-day period. During all study cycles, a significant increase in median checklist score was observed after, as compared to before, the 7-day follow up period ( p < 0.001). The median difference in checklist score from baseline was greatest for the third cycle.
These results suggest that introduction of a simple checklist can be successfully utilised to improve confidence of mothers in being able to care for their newborn child. Further investigation is indicated, but this intervention has the potential for routine application in postnatal care.
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