How delivery suite co-ordinators create situational awareness in the multidisciplinary team

02 August 2019
15 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 8

Teamwork has been highlighted as a vital component for ensuring patient safety and positive patient outcomes in a range of healthcare settings (Firth-Cozens, 2001; Leonard et al, 2004). In maternity care, the particular focus for teamwork has been the delivery suite. Failures in this team have consistently been identified as a contributing factor to poor maternal and neonatal outcomes (Lewis et al, 2004; Healthcare Commission, 2004; Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, 2006; Lewis, 2007; Royal College of Anaesthetists et al, 2007; O'Neill, 2008; Kirkup, 2015; Knight et al, 2015; 2016; Manktelow et al, 2015; 2016).

Historically, poor neonatal outcomes have been linked with deprivation and maternal ethnicity (Lewis, 2007). However, once adjustments have been made for these demographic factors, the variation in stillbirth rates is as high as 20% between maternity units (National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) project team, 2017). This would suggest that other human factors are affecting outcomes. For example, there could be variations in the clinical care provided by the multidisciplinary team on the delivery suites (NMPA project team, 2017). This is supported by the findings from investigations into units with higher than expected incidences of maternal and neonatal deaths, which have cited poor communication, leadership and working relationships between multidisciplinary team members as direct causative factors in poor maternal and neonatal outcomes, possibly accounting for the variations seen between units (Healthcare Commission, 2004; Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, 2006; Kirkup, 2015).

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