By Jo Killingley
The Better Births national maternity review (NHS England 2016) has been gratefully received as a chance to improve maternity services to support women-centred care for better birth experiences. As Baroness Cumberlege stated (NHS England 2016) the commitment, determination and passion from health professionals to improve outcomes for women, babies and their families have been crystal clear.
Therefore this is a perfect opportunity to engage and encourage caseloading in maternity units as a sustainable and viable model of care which supports women and promotes midwives’ satisfaction. Thankfully, women still have faith in normality; their desire strengthens their urge to seek external commodities outside of the NHS, such as independent midwifery, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and the rise of hypnobirthing to satisfy their need to be supported, and is at the heart of decision making as fulfilled independent mothers. Therefore the demand is clearly apparent and service providers should be encouraged to adopt a caseloading model capable of providing a sustainable approach and meet the needs of the service user.
Caseloading is a model of care where midwives carry their own caseload of women to form trusting relationships and provide care throughout the woman’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth up to 28 days’ postpartum.
The qualitative rich data continues to reflect important issues in midwifery, such as midwifery-led care (Walsh & Devane 2012), and lack of support and continuity which inevitably contribute to medicalise birth (Caffrey 2011) and despite the propaganda, having a medicalised birth is not the safer option (Downe & McCourt 2004). Lack of choice continues to be an issue in maternity services; choice of birthplace remains a restricted option in many services due to the constraints of maternity staffing, as organisations lack the confidence in providing a home birth unless it is encapsulated in a caseloading midwifery model.
Killingley. J MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 26, no 4, December 2016, pp 452-453
Original article ©MIDIRS 2016
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