Transfer represents a critical time for babies and their families. A functioning Perinatal Network depends on timely and appropriate transfers to deliver high quality care to mother and baby in the appropriate setting.1 Parents at the NWLPN Parent Representative Group expressed views that transfer was anxiety provoking at best and at worst immensely distressing and asked that the Network address these challenging issues.
Transfer guidelines were developed to ease the experience of perinatal transfer for families and to provide a framework for the Network to prepare for and organise the transfer of babies both to and from their units.
The NWLPN funded the project. A Clinical Psychologist consulted parents whose baby had undergone a transfer, nursing, medical staff and allied health professionals from the seven Network hospitals to:
▶ Identify the challenges of the transfer process for parents and staff.
▶ Seek potential solutions for the identified problems.
▶ Identify variables and inconsistency in practice.
▶ Highlight the positive aspects of transfer.
▶ Share examples of best practice that had eased the burden of transfer.
Following this consultation process guidelines were developed to improve the quality and continuity of care for babies and their families and recommendations made for future practice.
Following implementation of the guidelines in January 2009–2010 parent's experiences have been continually audited. This feedback has enabled the Network to monitor consistency, identify areas of improvement and good practice and highlight any aspects of the transfer experience that continue to be rated less well and require action.
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