Maternity services and the discharge process: a review of practice in Queensland

Jenkinson, Bec, Young, Kate and Kruske, Sue (2014) Maternity services and the discharge process: a review of practice in Queensland. Women and Birth, 27 2: 114-120. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2013.12.001

Author Jenkinson, Bec
Young, Kate
Kruske, Sue
Title Maternity services and the discharge process: a review of practice in Queensland
Journal name Women and Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5192
Publication date 2014-06-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2013.12.001
Volume 27
Issue 2
Start page 114
End page 120
Total pages 7
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Efforts to increase postnatal support available to women and families are hampered by inadequate referral mechanisms. However, the discharge process in maternity services has received little research attention.

To review current discharge practices in Queensland, in order to identify mechanisms to minimise fragmentation in the care of women and families as they transition from hospital-based postnatal care to community-based health and other services.

A survey of discharge practices in Queensland hospitals that offer birthing services (N = 55) and content analysis of discharge summary forms used by those hospitals.

Fifty-two Queensland birthing hospitals participated in the study. Discharge summaries were most commonly sent to General Practitioners (83%), less commonly to Child and Family Health Nurses (CFHNs; 52%) and rarely to other care providers. Discharge summaries were usually disseminated within one week of discharge (87%), but did not capture any information about care provided by domiciliary services. Almost one-fifth (19%) of hospitals did not seek women's consent for the disclosure of their discharge summary and only 10% of hospitals had processes for women to check accuracy. Significant gaps in the content of discharge summaries were identified, particularly in psychosocial and cultural information, and post-discharge advice. The format of discharge summaries diminished their readability.

Discharge summaries (format and content) should be consistent, comprehensive and specific to maternity services. Discharge summaries should be generated and disseminated electronically at the time of discharge from the maternity service. Women should review their discharge summaries and direct and consent to its dissemination.
Keyword Postnatal care
Patient discharge
Discharge planning
Patient discharge summaries
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 23 May 2014, 23:16:26 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work