Patients in the Antepartum Period: Our Most Important Patients


Paper Presentation

Purpose for the Program

To address the need for structured programs and consistent nursing care to improve the experience of hospitalized patients in the antepartum period.

Proposed Change

To initiate program interventions that affect the ability of a patient in the antepartum period to cope and feel less lonely in her prolonged hospitalization. Collaborate with the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to bring in therapy dogs for weekly visits. Collaborate with the spiritual care department to provide opportunities individualized for each patient in the antepartum period: offer meditation; live music through a Music in Medicine program; the ability to work within each family's faith to have a blessing or good health ritual for the unborn fetus; and weekly tea parties, which bring together patients for a facilitated chat about their hospitalized experience, how to fight the boredom of long days and nights in the hospital, and their hopes and fears for their yet-to-be-born infants. We also invite mothers who were patients during their antepartum period and now have infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to come to the tea party and share their own NICU experience.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

Implementation of the program relies on one person to be the administrator with the SPCA and the co-facilitator (along with one of our perinatal social workers) for the tea party. The bedside nurses can initiate other interventions. We have found that the interaction between mothers meeting at our tea party is enough of an introduction that they continue to contact one another either by phone, e-mail, or visiting one another's room. Patient satisfaction is important to us and we are working on a method to conduct posthospitalization interviews to find out if patients were able to cope better with their hospitalization after our interventions.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Women experience loneliness, fear, anxiety, and boredom during bed rest and hospitalization. A nurse's understanding of this experience is essential to provide adequate care and coping strategies for women at this time.