OxGRIP: How does having additional scans make expectant mothers feel?
The aim of this service improvement was to increase the identification of babies that are growing poorly in the womb with a view to reduce the number of still born babies. When expectant mothers attend their 20-week scan (anomaly scan), they are now assessed for risk and are offered to join a monitoring pathway which helps manage their relative risk. These pathways determine the kind of care the mother needs between the 20 week scan (anomaly scan) and the final 36 week growth scan that is offered to all women who are using the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust’s services.
It has been just over a year since we introduced these new pathways so it was decided we would ask the women who received these scans how they felt receiving them. During March 2017, women who had completed a 36 week scan, were asked to complete an anonymous, paper survey which questioned how the scan affected their outlook on the pregnancy, how having an additional scan made them feel and how well informed they were about the additional measurements that were being taken. In total, 264 women returned the survey (185 from the John Radcliffe Hospital and 79 from the Horton General Hospital). Of these, only 6 women did not wholly complete the survey and those that did covered each pathway of care.
The feedback from these women was overwhelmingly positive with 85% of them being happy with the additional scans they received. Around 90% of those who responded felt they were well informed and felt that the information they received was good and well explained – in writing (patient information leaflets) and by the person conducting the sonogram (verbally). The women were very quick to acknowledge to good work of the staff and how pleasant and accommodating the team were. They also noted how important it is to have received additional care.
Minor improvements to the service were suggested – clearer information provided (both tailored to each pathway and about the measurements the sonographers are taking) and that these scans are optional. As the project evolves, we will aim to make the changes when it is feasible to do so. Feedback about the actual service (e.g. patient flow through the department) has been fed back to the departmental managers.
What the mothers said:
“All of the staff go above and beyond to make sure everything is explained and are happy to answer any questions we had.”
“Always received good explanation of growth and development.”
“It’s great to get more reassurance.”
“Very reassuring to have the 36 week scan as a last check before the baby comes. 20 – 40 [weeks] is too big a gap.”
“Very glad as discovered baby was breech at 36 weeks. As I had a first pregnancy with no pain relief and in the baby centre, I’m glad not to discover this at the point of delivery.”
“A scan reassured us both that our baby is growing well.”
“This is my fourth pregnancy and the first extra growth scan later in pregnancy. It’s very reassuring.”
“Reassuring to have later scan and happy to contribute to evidence based medicine.”
“All were lovely, professional and reassuring.”
“All mothers should be offered the extra scans.”
“Make 36 week scans routine!”