Implementing midwifery continuity of care models in regional Australia: A constructivist grounded theory study

Elysse Prussing, Graeme Browne, Eileen Dowse, Donna Hartz, Allison Cummins

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Abstract

Problem/background: Strong international evidence demonstrates significantly improved outcomes for women and their babies when supported by midwifery continuity of care models. Despite this, widespread implementation has not been achieved, especially in regional settings. Aim: To develop a theoretical understanding of the factors that facilitate or inhibit the implementation of midwifery continuity models within regional settings. Methods: A Constructivist Grounded Theory approach was used to collect and analyse data from 34 interviews with regional public hospital key informants. Results: Three concepts of theory emerged: ‘engaging the gatekeepers’, ‘midwives lacking confidence’ and ‘women rallying together’. The concepts of theory and sub-categories generated a substantive theory: A partnership between midwives and women is required to build confidence and enable the promotion of current evidence; this is essential for engaging key hospital stakeholders to invest in the implementation of midwifery continuity of care models. Discussion: The findings from this research suggest that midwives and women can significantly influence the implementation of midwifery continuity models within their local maternity services, particularly in regional settings. Midwives’ reluctance to transition is based on a lack of confidence and knowledge of what it is really like to work in midwifery continuity models. Similarly, women require education to increase awareness of continuity of care benefits, and a partnership between women and midwives can be a strong political force to overcome many of the barriers. Conclusion: Implementation of midwifery continuity of care needs a coordinated ground up approach in which midwives partner with women and promote widespread dissemination of evidence for this model, directed towards consumers, midwives, and hospital management to increase awareness of the benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalWomen and Birth
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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