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Uptake of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand perinatal mortality audit guideline

Authors


Associate Professor Vicki Flenady, Mater Mothers’ Research Centre, Mater Health Services, Woolloongabba, Qld 4102, Australia. Email: vicki.flenady@mater.org.au

Abstract

Background:  Deficiencies in investigation and audit of perinatal deaths result in loss of information thereby limiting strategies for future prevention. The Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) developed a clinical practice guideline for perinatal mortality in 2004.

Aims:  To determine the current use and views of the PSANZ guideline, focussing on the investigation and audit aspects of the guideline.

Methods:  A telephone survey was conducted of lead midwives and doctors working in birth suites of maternity hospitals with over 1000 births per annum in Australia and New Zealand.

Results:  Sixty-nine of the 78 eligible hospitals agreed to participate. A total of 133 clinicians were surveyed. Only 42% of clinicians surveyed were aware of the guideline; more midwives than doctors were aware (53 vs 28%). Of those, only 19% had received training in their use and 33% reported never having referred to them in practice. Implementation of even the key guideline recommendations varied. Seventy per cent of respondents reported regularly attending perinatal mortality audit meetings; midwives were less likely than doctors to attend (59 vs 81%). Almost half (45%) of those surveyed reported never receiving feedback from these meetings. The majority of clinicians surveyed agreed that all parents should be approached for consent to an autopsy examination of the baby; however, most (86%) reported the need for clinician training in counselling parents about autopsy.

Conclusions:  Effective implementation programmes are urgently required to address suboptimal uptake of best practice guidelines on perinatal mortality audit in Australia and New Zealand.

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