A new pathway of antenatal and postnatal care in Caboolture

In February 2020 families began accessing a new pathway of antenatal and postnatal care in the Caboolture hospital catchment. Called the Starting Well Initiative, the pathway focuses on families building a strong relationship with a midwife throughout their antenatal care, and receiving follow up care from the same midwife in the postnatal period. Until now, this type of care was only available for families eligible for specialised programs, with most families in the area seeing different midwives throughout the antenatal and postnatal period.

Midwives delivering the Starting Well Initiative are co-located with Child Health Services in a community-based clinic, and will introduce families to their Child Health Nurses before their baby is born, avoiding the need for families to complete administrative processes to access care in the postnatal period. GPs will also receive more regular communication about their patient throughout the antenatal and postnatal periods.

“It’s about establishing care teams,” said Professor Don Matheson, Health Alliance General Manager.

“Because midwives, child health nurses and GPs belong to different parts of the health system, until now there has been little systemic support for these professionals acting like a care team. The Starting Well Initiative is changing that, supporting team members to work together and build a stronger relationship with mothers and families”.

Over a 12 month period, the Health Alliance brought together local clinicians, system managers and families to design this new pathway of care.

“Front-line clinicians understand the challenges within the health system, and often have the clearest ideas of how care can be delivered in a more coordinated and integrated way. What we uncovered in Caboolture is a local sector alive with energy and ideas, and it’s be a privilege to support them to bring these ideas to light,” said Professor Matheson.

More than 20 families have been registered for the Starting Well Initiative, with a focus on families living in the central Caboolture and Morayfield area. Progress will be closely monitored and learnings will be used to take this type of care pathway to scale.

“The Starting Well Initiative has provided a great opportunity to improve continuity of midwifery care for some families in the Caboolture area,” said Anne Clayton, Nursing and Midwifery Director for Women’s and Children’s Services at Caboolture Hospital.

While this pilot phase is small in size, plans are already underway to increase the program in coming years. “This is just the beginning,” said Ms Clayton.

For more information on antenatal, postnatal and paediatric care in the Caboolture region email contact@healthalliance.org.au.