How participatory action research supported improvements to the postnatal discharge summary system used for remote dwelling Aboriginal mothers and infants in the Top End of Australia

Cath Josif, Lesley Barclay, Sarah Bar-Zeev, Sue Kildea, Maureen Brittin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article describes and analyses the participatory action research (PAR) process used by researchers working with policy leaders and clinicians to facilitate health service improvement around postnatal discharge planning processes for remote-dwelling Aboriginal women and their newborn infants. The research presented here was a sub-study of a larger health system improvement investigation. Stringer's (2007) working principles of PAR - participation, relationships, inclusion and communication - were used by researchers as a framework to describe a process of engagement for the research. Application of these principles prompted changes to the discharge planning process within the health system. The improvements included: redesign of discharge paperwork; nomination of a designated health professional at the remote community to receive summaries; training for hospital staff in the computer application that generated the discharge summaries; and the development of a length of stay and discharge policy. Hospital service providers have formed a working group that meets to discuss issues around the discharge process and work continues to review and strengthen the discharge process. Hospital management reported that the changes resulted in improvements, with more likelihood that correct information is being received by the appropriate health professional in a timely manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-405
Number of pages19
JournalAction Research
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

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