Delivering a Healthy WA
Health Networks - Collaborative health care planning for the whole community

Womens and Newborns Health Network

'Improving access to and delivery of health services for disadvantaged women' forum

In July 2015 the Network ran an inter-agency/cross-sector forum to identify solutions to difficulties faced by disadvantaged women in accessing appropriate health services. The aims of the forum were to:

  • provide an opportunity for inter-agency and cross-sector engagement to look at ways to improve service delivery to disadvantaged women
  • identify solutions for delivering health services to disadvantaged women across Western Australia
  • consider who should be addressing these solutions.

The forum was attended by 123 people from diverse backgrounds, including government, not-fo-profit and non-government organisations and consumer and carer representatives, health professionals including allied health, academia and research.

Some of the key solutions that emerged from the workshops included:

  • improve care coordination
  • improve service delivery and tailor care to individual’s specific needs
  • promote continual staff education and engaging with consumers
  • improve service delivery for Aboriginal people through a holistic approach to care
  • improve service delivery to Aboriginal people by expanding the telephone interpreting service to include Aboriginal languages
  • support language services, with accessible information and cultural competency training
  • develop an interactive service directory that is easy for stakeholders to access
  • develop a collaborative, multi-faceted approach that targets all disadvantaged groups
  • provide effective communication between health service providers and consumers
  • work more cooperatively to remove silos and foster collaboration of services
  • support a safe place where women can connect, enabling more accessible care
  • use new service delivery models that are ‘one stop shops'
  • pool resources and network with other agencies to develop a united voice for consumers.

The forum also highlighted the importance of recognising communication around what other services are doing, in order to become more aware of the opportunities that can be shared to improve service delivery to disadvantaged women.

Toolkit of Resources for the Provision of Care to Refugee and Migrant Women Accessing Maternity Services

During 2015 the Refugee and Migrant Women Working Group ran a series of focus groups to ask refugee and migrant women about their thoughts and experiences regarding health services for women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Following the consultations, the group developed a toolkit of resources for the provision of care to refugee and migrant women accessing maternity services.

The toolkit helps health services to achieve the best and most appropriate care for refugee and migrant women by providing strategies, recommendations for implementation and links to key resources/organisations.

The toolkit emphasises:

  • access to clear information for both the woman and those organising antenatal care, ensuring adequate interpretation services are available to improve communications
  • ease of access to health care services for refugee and migrant women
  • the attitudes and cultural awareness of health care staff to ensure women feel welcomed and supported by maternity services
  • the availability of additional support for women who require it.

The 2015 focus group report and video, as well as the toolkit, are now available from our website.

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care

The Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care has been developed by the Women’s Health Clinical Support Programs at the Women and Newborn Health Service with support from us. The model of care provides a comprehensive approach to delivering the best outcomes for perinatal and infant/child mental health services for Western Australians.

Consultation on the final draft of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Model of Care closed in October. The consultation was the final phase of this project and the feedback will be used to inform implementation of the model of care.

The model:

  • provides a comprehensive approach to optimise perinatal and infant/child mental health services for all Western Australians
  • describes evidence-based best practice and service delivery across the perinatal and infant/child continuum of care
  • addresses promotion and prevention through to intervention and treatment for the before pregnancy, pregnancy, birth, postnatal, infant and early childhood periods
  • aims to ensure that services consider each member of the family unit, and those services are provided in ways that are respectful of families’ own knowledge of their babies and children.

Once finalised, the model will be available via the Women and Newborn Health Service.

Continuity of Care Working Group Midwifery Group Practice Toolkit

The Continuity of Care Working group has finished developing the Midwifery Group Practice Toolkit. The toolkit will assist public maternity service providers in WA to implement midwifery-led continuity of care models.\ The toolkit includes:

  • information on the core principles of the Maternal Continuity of Care model
  • key steps and actions to include in an implementation plan
  • appendices of relevant templates and documents.

The toolkit is going through final approval processes and will then be available on our website.

Kimberley Mums Mood Scale

At last year’s Forum we featured the work of the Kimberley Mums Mood Scale.

The Scale is a mental health assessment and screening tool for use among Kimberley Aboriginal women to identify early warning signs of depression and anxiety in the perinatal period.

The Scale was developed to improve perinatal mental health outcomes for Kimberley women and their families. In the past six years more than 200 women across the Kimberley, including health professionals, cultural advisers and others have collaborated and contributed to its development.

Following the extensive community consultation process and a pilot project in Broome, the Scale has now been validated for use throughout the Kimberley.

The Scale is supported by a combination of online and face-to-face training to ensure culturally safe and effective implementation and management.