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There is a serious and persistent gap between postnatal morbidity and mortality rates for women from deprived areas and ethnic minority groups, with most women dying in the postnatal period. By combining the lived expertise of women, with that of professional, we will develop an information resource alerting women to postnatal red flags so they can seek help quickly. Together we will identify and create guidance for the most effective way to deliver information to women (from communities) who experience barriers to accessing healthcare.

Background

The MBRRACE UK report has shown a serious and persistent gap between postnatal morbidity and mortality rates for women from deprived areas and ethnic minority groups, with most women dying in the postnatal period. If symptoms can be recognised in time this enables them to be treated more effectively. There are numerous information resources of varying quality detailing symptoms of potential postnatal complications that inform women’s decision to seek care.

Women continue to report unmet needs for information and support in the postnatal period, but there is no guidance for health care professionals on how to provide information to support better care for people from communities experiencing barriers to accessing healthcare or who have lived experience of health inequalities.

How does this research try to address the problem? 

Taking a participatory action research approach we will combine women’s lived expertise with professionals’ expertise.

We will co-design an information resource alerting women to these postnatal red flags, distilling accessibility principles alongside guidance on how to most effectively deliver information to communities who have lived experience of health inequalities.

How were patient and public involved

During pre-grant discussions women told us they felt communication of information to be very important for women’s safety, health and development of trust in the NHS maternity system. Women felt they experienced crisis before being offered help and did not always receive information about their own health in a way that they could understand. Third sector organisations were felt to do better as they relayed information in ‘plain language’ or were trusted with questions. The most valuable achievement of this project is ‘a chance for us to be heard’ and ‘information and support for us to look after ourselves and our babies’. Provision of appropriate information and help seeking support was felt to be a huge gap in service provision. We will work with up to 60 women with lived experience of disadvantage to co-design, disseminate and evaluate the project resources.

 

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Aims

Deliverables

Expected impact

How can we make information resources more accessible to women with lived experience of health inequalities?

How can we make these resources reach women from communities who experience barriers to accessing healthcare? 

Co-designed exemplar of accessible information: Red Flag warning signs of serious postnatal illness.

Co-designed principles of accessible information checklist for the development or revision of postnatal information.

Postnatal information resource chosen from the stakeholder workshop made ‘accessible’ using the checklist.

Co-produced information delivery guidance for healthcare professionals to reach women with experience of health inequalities.

To have the voice of underserved women heard in service improvement

A culture shift among maternity practitioners in how and where we share information to women experiencing health inequalities.

Forging strong links between academia, clinical practice and charity partners

To strengthen expertise in techniques of co-design with women experiencing health inequalities and barriers to healthcare access.

Ultimately, women experiencing health inequalities will recognise symptoms of serious illness in the postnatal period and feel supported to seek timely help, improving the outcome for them and their families.


The most valuable achievement of this project is ‘a chance for us to be heard’ and ‘information and support for us to look after ourselves and our babies’.

Provision of appropriate information and help seeking support was felt to be a huge gap in service provision.

Birth Companions Workshop January 2024

Friends, Families, Travellers Workshop March 2024


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