Early Transfer Home Service Commences at University Maternity Hospital Limerick

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Helen Coe, clinical midwife manager; baby Cadence Fitzgerald with parents Kelly Doheny and Alan Fitzgerald, and Nicola Molloy, staff midwife as baby Cadence was brought home to Dooradoyle

MOTHERS in Limerick are being supported by community midwives to bring their newborn babies home early to receive postnatal care.

University Maternity Hospital Limerick’s (UMHL) Early Transfer Home Service is designed for well mothers who have a healthy full-term baby, who live within a defined catchment area and who want to return home early to receive postnatal care at home with the community midwifery team.

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After a mother has had her baby in the hospital, and if all is normal and well, she can go home within approximately 12-24 hours. Mothers who have had an uncomplicated caesarean section can go home after 72 hours. The community midwife will call at home the next day and plan subsequent visits with the mother. There will be approximately 3-5 visits in total, with the midwife handing over care to the public health nurse after a week to 10 days after the birth.

The first baby home as part of this new service was beautiful baby Cadence, daughter of Kelly Doheny and Alan Fitzgerald, born on October 10th.

Speaking at home in Dooradoyle, Kelly said: “ I was delighted when approached in the hospital to be part of this new community midwifery scheme. As a first-time mam after an emergency c-section, it means I have that extra support at home with visits and a midwife just a call away. This support will be a great asset to any mother with queries on breastfeeding and baby’s overall wellbeing and leaving the hospital earlier to go home to home comforts.”

Under the new service, the community midwife provides physical checks on both mother and baby, offers feeding advice and support, monitors the baby’s weight, carries out the newborn bloodspot screening (“heel prick test”) and offers emotional support during the transition into parenthood.

The community midwives provide safe, high-quality continuity of care, positive options and choice. The care given is evidence-based and underpinned by the philosophy of UMHL: “We believe that the woman, baby and family are the primary focus of care. Midwifery care is centred on meeting the individual needs of the women and their babies”.

The community midwifery service is integrated with hospital and other community services, so if there are any concerns about the health of the mother or baby the community midwife can refer to an appropriate service for a review and plan of care.

The care is provided, in partnership with the mother, by a team of three experienced community midwives:  Helen Coe, clinical manager, and midwives Nicola Molloy and Sandra Healy, who will support women to make their individual experience as positive as possible. Initially, it will be a Monday to Friday service and, as the service expands, the plan is to extend to a Monday to Sunday service.

Eileen Ronan, Interim Director of Midwifery, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, welcomed the commencement of the early transfer home scheme as an initiative “developed in line with the National Maternity Strategy 2016-26 Implementation Plan to deliver on the supported care pathway as choice for women in Mid-West”.

The community midwifery integrated service was established in 2018 with the commencement of outreach antenatal clinics in Limerick city, where continuity of care is provided by a named community midwife, allowing the mother and her midwife get to know each other over the duration of the pregnancy.

For more information, speak to your midwife or contact the community midwifery office at University Maternity Hospital on 061 483128.