(1/168) Evaluating a policy of reduced consultant antenatal clinic visits for low risk multiparous women.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate a change in antenatal care policy to reduce antenatal clinic visits, whereby low risk multiparous women were managed by the primary care team and seen at booking and at 41 weeks' gestation at the consultant antenatal clinic. DESIGN: Comparative study of low risk multiparous women retrospectively identified through the Oxford obstetric data system and cared for by three consultants who changed their policy (group A) or three consultants who maintained their routine care (group B). SETTING: Oxfordshire Health District. SUBJECTS: 2153 low risk multiparous women (1079 group A, 1074 group B) booked for consultant care at John Radcliffe Maternity Hospital between August 1985 and July 1987. MAIN MEASURES: Comparison of pregnancy outcomes, satisfaction with care, and clinic waiting times, during one year before and after the policy change (year 1, year 2). RESULTS: The proportion of women in group A with only one or two consultant clinic visits increased from 19.9% to 57.9% between years 1 and 2 (p < 0.001). Clinic waiting times did not improve. Of five perinatal deaths in group A, one (from postmaturity) could possibly be attributed to the policy change. The proportion of women reaching 42 weeks' gestation rose from 4.7% to 9.2% (p < 0.01); the proportion fully satisfied with their care rose from 68.4% to 82.1% (p < 0.025). No such changes were seen in group B. CONCLUSIONS: The change in policy was successful in reducing hospital antenatal clinic visits. The exercise identified dilemmas around evaluating changes in antenatal care settings. IMPLICATIONS: Criteria to test policy objectives should be selected carefully and rare events assessed prospectively in order to detect problems early.  (+info)

(2/168) Assessing introduction of spinal anaesthesia for obstetric procedures.

To assess the impact of introducing spinal anaesthesia for obstetric operative procedures on use of general anaesthesia and quality of regional anaesthesia in a unit with an established epidural service a retrospective analysis of routinely collected data on method of anaesthesia, efficacy, and complications was carried out. Data were collected from 1988 to 1991 on 1670 obstetric patients requiring an operative procedure. The introduction of spinal anaesthesia in 1989 significantly reduced the proportion of operative procedures performed under general anaesthesia, from 60% (234/390) in 1988 to 30% (124/414) in 1991. The decrease was most pronounced for manual removal of the placenta (88%, 48/55 v 9%, 3/34) and emergency caesarean section (67%, 129/193) v 38%, 87/229). Epidural anaesthesia decreased in use most significantly for elective caesarean section (65%, 77/118 v 3% 3/113; x2=139, p<0.0001). The incidence of severe pain and need for conversion to general anaesthesia was significantly less with spinal anaesthesia (0%, 0/207 v 3%, 5/156; p<0.05). Hypotension was not a problem, and the incidence of headache after spinal anaesthetic decreased over the period studied. Introducing spinal anaesthesia therefore reduced the need for general anaesthesia and improved the quality of regional anaesthesia.  (+info)

(3/168) Reducing maternal mortality in Kigoma, Tanzania.

An intervention programme aiming at a reduction of maternal deaths in the Regional Hospital, Kigoma, Tanzania, is analyzed. A retrospective study was carried out from 1984-86 to constitute a background for an intervention programme in 1987-91. The retrospective study revealed gross under-registration of data and clarified a number of potentially useful issues regarding avoidable maternal mortality. An intervention programme comprising 22 items was launched and the maternal mortality ratio was carefully followed in 1987-91. The intervention programme paid attention to professional responsibilities with regular audit-oriented meeting, utilization of local material resources, schedules for regular maintenance of equipment, maintenance of working skills by regular on-the-job training of staff, norms for patient management, provision of blood, norms for referral of severely ill patients, use of antibiotics, regular staff evaluation, public complaints about patient management, travel distance of all essential staff to the hospital, supply of essential drugs, the need of a small infusion production unit, the creation of culture facilities for improved quality of microbiology findings, and to efforts to stimulate local fund-raising. The results indicate that the maternal mortality ratio fell from 933 to 186 per 100,000 live births over the period 1984-91. Thus it is underscored that the problem of maternal mortality can be successfully approached by a low-cost intervention programme aiming at identifying issues of avoidability and focusing upon locally available problem solutions.  (+info)

(4/168) Complications of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: a review.

The Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat undertook a study in 1994 to document the magnitude of abortion complications in Commonwealth member countries. The results of the literature review component of that study, and research gaps identified as a result of the review, are presented in this article. The literature review findings indicate a significant public health problem in the region, as measured by a high proportion of incomplete abortion patients among all hospital gynaecology admissions. The most common complications of unsafe abortion seen at health facilities were haemorrhage and sepsis. Studies on the use of manual vacuum aspiration for treating abortion complications found shorter lengths of hospital stay (and thus, lower resource costs) and a reduced need for a repeat evacuation. Very few articles focused exclusively on the cost of treating abortion complications, but authors agreed that it consumes a disproportionate amount of hospital resources. Studies on the role of men in supporting a woman's decision to abort or use contraception were similarly lacking. Articles on contraceptive behaviour and abortion reported that almost all patients suffering from abortion complications had not used an effective, or any, method of contraception prior to becoming pregnant, especially among the adolescent population; studies on post-abortion contraception are virtually nonexistent. Almost all articles on the legal aspect of abortion recommended law reform to reflect a public health, rather than a criminal, orientation. Research needs that were identified include: community-based epidemiological studies; operations research on decentralization of post-abortion care and integration of treatment with post-abortion family planning services; studies on system-wide resource use for treatment of incomplete abortion; qualitative research on the role of males in the decision to terminate pregnancy and use contraception; clinical studies on pain control medications and procedures; and case studies on the provision of safe abortion services where legally allowed.  (+info)

(5/168) The role of medical problems and behavioral risks in explaining patterns of prenatal care use among high-risk women.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between maternal medical conditions and behavioral risks and the patterns of prenatal care use among high-risk women. DATA SOURCE/STUDY DESIGN: Data on over 25,000 high-risk deliveries to African American and white women using multinomial logistic regression to predict the odds of adequate-plus care relative to three other categories of care. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Data were extracted from records maintained by the University of Florida/Shands Hospital maternity clinic on all deliveries between 1987 and 1994; records for white and for African American women were subset to examine racial differences in medical conditions, health behaviors, and patterns of prenatal care use. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Net of sociodemographic and fertility-related characteristics, African American and white women with late antepartum conditions and hypertension problems had significantly higher odds of receiving adequate-plus care, as well as no care or inadequate care, relative to adequate care. White women with gynecological disease and medical/surgical problems were significantly less likely to receive no care or inadequate care, as were African American women with gynecological disease. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal medical conditions explain much but not all of the adequate-plus prenatal care use. More than 13 percent of African American women and 20 percent of white women with no reported medical problems or behavioral risks used adequate-plus care. Additional research is needed to understand this excess use and its possibilities in mediating birth outcomes.  (+info)

(6/168) Relation between size of delivery unit and neonatal death in low risk deliveries: population based study.

AIM: To examine risk of neonatal death after low risk pregnancies in relation to size of delivery units. METHODS: A population based study of live born singleton infants in Norway with birthweights of at least 2500 g was carried out. Antenatal risk factors were adjusted for. RESULTS: From 1972 to 1995, 1.25 million births fulfilled the criteria. The neonatal death rate was lowest for maternity units with 2001-3000 annual births and steadily increased with decreasing size of the maternity unit to around twice that for units with less than 100 births a year (odds ratio 2.1; 95 % confidence interval 1.6 to 2.8). Institutions with more than 3000 deliveries a year also had a higher rate (odds ratio 1.7; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.0), but analyses suggest that this rate is overestimated. CONCLUSION: Around 2000 to 3000 annual births are needed to reduce the risk of neonatal deaths after low risk deliveries.  (+info)

(7/168) Does length of hospital stay during labor and delivery influence patient satisfaction? Results from a regional study.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between patients' satisfaction with hospital obstetric care, length of stay, and patients' perceived appropriateness of the length of stay. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We surveyed 27,789 women (a 58% response rate) discharged after labor and delivery from 18 hospitals in a large metropolitan region from 1992 through 1994. Patient satisfaction was assessed using the Patient Judgment System, a previously validated instrument. Our analysis focused on four scales evaluating specific aspects of care (physician care, nursing care, provision of information, and preparation for discharge) and two single-item indicators of satisfaction (overall quality and willingness to return to the hospital). RESULTS: Patients with shorter lengths of stay were more likely (P < 0.001) to perceive their stays as "too short." In addition, the six measures of satisfaction were lower (P < 0.001) in patients who perceived their stays as too short. However, the hypothesized lower satisfaction in patients with shorter stays was not observed; differences in satisfaction according to length of stay were small and of questionable practical significance. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that patients' satisfaction with obstetric care may not depend on the absolute duration of stay but rather on whether patients perceive the length of stay to be adequate. The results are timely because of recent legislation that mandates minimum hospital stays for labor and delivery.  (+info)

(8/168) Patient assessments of hospital maternity care: a useful tool for consumers?

OBJECTIVE: To examine three issues related to using patient assessments of care as a means to select hospitals and foster consumer choice-specifically, whether patient assessments (1) vary across hospitals, (2) are reproducible over time, and (3) are biased by case-mix differences. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Surveys that were mailed to 27,674 randomly selected patients admitted to 18 hospitals in a large metropolitan region (Northeast Ohio) for labor and delivery in 1992-1994. We received completed surveys from 16,051 patients (58 percent response rate). STUDY DESIGN: Design was a repeated cross-sectional study. DATA COLLECTION: Surveys were mailed approximately 8 to 12 weeks after discharge. We used three previously validated scales evaluating patients' global assessments of care (three items)as well as assessments of physician (six items) and nursing (five items) care. Each scale had a possible range of 0 (poor care) to 100 (excellent care). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Patient assessments varied (p<.001) across hospitals for each scale. Mean hospital scores were higher or lower (p<.01) than the sample mean for seven or more hospitals during each year of data collection. However, within individual hospitals, mean scores were reproducible over the three years. In addition, relative hospital rankings were stable; Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from 0.85 to 0.96 when rankings during individual years were compared. Patient characteristics (age, race, education, insurance status, health status, type of delivery) explained only 2-3 percent of the variance in patient assessments, and adjusting scores for these factors had little effect on hospitals' scores. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that patient assessments of care may be a sensitive measure for discriminating among hospitals. In addition, hospital scores are reproducible and not substantially affected by case-mix differences. If our findings regarding patient assessments are generalizable to other patient populations and delivery settings, these measures may be a useful tool for consumers in selecting hospitals or other healthcare providers.  (+info)