Kilmore District Health's maternity services collaborated with Safer Care Victoria’s Better Birth for Women program to achieve better outcomes for new mothers.

By Tricia Mifsud

KILMORE District Health’s, KDH, maternity service team has concluded its collaboration with Safer Care Victoria’s Better Birth for Women program, which aimed to educate maternity services in perineal laceration and reduce the likelihood of it occurring in birthing mothers.

Completed in two phases, the program partnered with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and 14 health services, including KDH, to improve outcomes for women giving birth in Victoria and reduce the amount of third and fourth-degree tears suffered, which can leave long-lasting physical and psychological impacts on women.

KDH nurse unit manager Tania Nicholson said while the hospital’s maternity service team had relatively low rates of perineal trauma, it was important to further educate the team to lessen its numbers even more.

“It has been a fantastic experience for the maternity team to be involved in the Safer Care Victoria program,” she said.

“Even though we had a very low perineal trauma rate, Safer Care has allowed us to reduce it even further, and that education has been able to improve the way we recognise potential issues for women and providing a safer experience for them.

“We feel that from our learning with the program, women are now better informed and educated on perineal trauma and when they speak to a health professional for more help.

“From a post-natal perspective we’ve seen people speak up more, whether it’s issues both regarding the delivery of the baby and seeking help to implement support and treatment for incompetency post-natal.”

As a collective the 14 hospitals involved were able to prevent 155 women from having severe perineal trauma and the rate of severe perineal tears dropped by nearly half from an average rate of 4.41 per cent to 2.44 per cent.

Ms Nicholson said KDH’s maternity service team was committed to embedding its learnings into its work, and provided women using all of its services, from antenatal care through the birth journey and postnatally, with safe, woman-centred care.

Ms Nicholson said it was one of the main reasons the team participated in the program.

“From an organisation perspective, we are always interested in collaborating with other organisations to better the outcome for our clients,” she said.

“In this instance, it was to identify if there was any other way to better the service we already provided.”

People wishing to find out more about KDH’s maternity services can visit kilmoredistricthealth.org.au/maternity.

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