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About: King Edward Memorial Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I was part of the WA community midwifery program and laboured at home for 90% of my birth prior to needing transfer to KEMH for a breech birth. 

I had my midwife, midwife student, doula and spouse with me the entire time. The operating staff (Anaesthetist, obstetrician and Gynaecologist) performing the surgery were beyond amazing. They listened to my support team and my experience of needing a c-section was a positive one. 

I was returned to the ward that morning from recovery. The maternity ward staff were fine and as expected, they were good at giving us our space throughout the day and allowing me to move around once able. The issue came that night when my spouse was told they had to leave as visiting hours were only 8am-8pm.

It was our first night together as a family, our first child, and I had a c-section so getting in/out of bed and getting bub in/out of basinet was hard. Having my spouse stay the night would have meant the world to help with changes and feeding over night. At this point I hadn’t slept for 2 days and I tender as all hell.

They wouldn’t have needed a bed or anything from the staff and hospital. They would have happily curled up in a corner just to be there when we needed them. 

They left at 8pm and I was left to care for bub alone. It was my friend that mentioned the staff can take bub for a few hours and feed her colostrum if I was needing a rest. I ended up doing this for a 2 nap, but felt terrible as it was her first night in the world and she was with unfamiliar people.

I told staff throughout the day and the follow day that if I was ok, I wanted to stay only one night as I had more support at home. The nurses were fine with this and pushed hard for discharge the next day. The hospital didn’t have enough doctors and the maternity ward went 5 hours without seeing a doctor that day. I waited until 5pm for just a script and ended up self-discharging with a GP appnt made for the next day to get my post op medication (clexane, pain relief, movicol).  The script from the hospital wasn’t ready until 9pm that night and even then the nurses had to shove the pad in front of the doctors nose to get it done. My midwife student was on shift that night in ED and she was able to collect the script from the ward on her way home. 

My specific feedback based on my experience 

1. Allow new fathers to stay and help care for the mother and child. Times are changing and having supports for the first nights of motherhood is so important. 

2. Increase the weekend FTE for doctors, employ an intern to facilitate discharges or write standard medication orders for non complicated c/sections. 

I have worked many years in the hospital system as a physio, I know discharges are always a number one priority for patient flow and I know how much it would have cost the system if I ended up in hospital another night unnecessarily simply waiting on a script! 

Just a general comment:

If systemic issues can be fixed within our system to allow more efficiency then more can be spent on worthwhile programs such as the community midwife program or birthing centre . I believe the fact that it’s a competition to get into these programs and they are not available for every woman as a choice is shameful. More money in these programs keeps people out of hospital unless needed, and also reduces the burden on the hospital system. It’s a no brainer really. I hope the information coming out in NSW over maternity care helps to drive change here in WA also, in the direction that’s wanted by women and not by the AMA or insurance companies. 

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Response from Director, Safety Quality and Performance, Safety, Quality and Performance, Women and Newborn Health Service 3 weeks ago
We are preparing to make a change
Submitted on 20/06/2024 at 6:27 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 21/06/2024 at 9:12 AM

Dear chlgd56

Congratulations on the birth of your baby and thank you for taking the time to share about your recent experience with the Community Midwifery Program (CMP) and at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH). I am so pleased to hear that, despite the change in plans, you were well supported by the CMP midwives and perioperative teams to have a positive birth experience.

I’d also like to thank you for your feedback about your stay on the ward. I am truly sorry to hear about the impact that the visiting hours had on you and your family during your first night of motherhood. It is important to us that our patients receive care that meets their individual needs, and I’m saddened to hear that you felt unsupported overnight. If you would like to contact our Consumer Liaison Service by phone 6458 1444 or email, they can put you in touch with the post-natal ward mangers who would be happy to review the care you received.

We are committed to identifying ways to improve the care we provide to our patients. We highly value the contributions and experiences our patients share with us, and this is one of many forms of feedback we use to make positive change at our service. We have passed on your feedback about the delays to your discharge to be followed up by our Patient Flow project team, who are actively working to improve our current discharge processes.

Wishing you and your family all the best,

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