|Postpartum Discharge Education Program|
The NeedThe postpartum period is a critical time to ensure women and their newborns are healthy. It is important to closely monitor a woman’s health during this recovery time – especially if she experienced complications during pregnancy or childbirth – as nearly half of maternal deaths occur during the first days and weeks after childbirth. The most common preventable causes of severe maternal morbidity and maternal mortality include obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension, venous thromboembolism, infection and cardiac disease. Even healthy women who give birth are at risk for these complications.
When a woman is discharged from the hospital, she may either receive so much information that she becomes overwhelmed (e.g., pamphlets, flyers, samples), or she may receive very limited “mother-focused” information on what health changes she can expect after childbirth. In either scenario, the reality is that many women do not receive consistent messages and adequate guidance about how to identify warning signs and symptoms of complications, or instructions on when, where and how to obtain necessary medical attention in the days and weeks following childbirth.
Increasing the number of women who recognize potential life-threatening post-birth warning signs that can occur after hospital discharge and educating them on when to obtain immediate medical attention can save lives.
AWHONN’s Postpartum Discharge Education Implementation Community
AWHONN has developed a standard approach to postpartum discharge education provided by nurses during the hospital stay. The program includes online education on maternal morbidity and mortality and how to deliver consistent messages about warning signs that can signal serious complications. The course also provides a discharge education checklist that includes points for nurses and a handout for all mothers to take home. The Implementation Community focuses on strategies for implementing this teaching n the hospital setting and integrating these tools into the hospital’s electronic medical record.
Members of the Implementation Community will help assess successes and challenges and identify best practices that facilitate implementation of the Postpartum Discharge Education Program in hospital maternity services.
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