October is Mental Health Awareness Month around the world and we are proud to share a new initiative Casey Hospital has recently introduced the ‘Casey Perinatal Mental Health Multidisciplinary Team Forum’ to help care for pregnant women with mental health illness or social vulnerabilities.
Pregnant women with mental health illness often engage with various services at Monash Health and in the community. The new forum at Casey Hospital allows healthcare providers to come together to discuss the care of women. Each week, a dedicated team involving Midwifery, Obstetrics, Social Work and Consultation Liaison Psychiatry come together to collaboratively discuss the individual care of each woman. Care plans are then made and endorsed by the patients. Points of care that are addressed extend from the antenatal period, labour and birth and to post-partum.
Dr Kiran Atmuri, the Obstetric lead in the forum, reports that women have welcomed the initiative.
“Women who have recently given birth often provide positive feedback which is a testament to the value of the initiative. They are grateful that care providers have an in-depth understanding of their circumstances prior to their appointments. They feel reassured that there is a ‘team’ of people thinking about them and this gives them confidence.
“In some instances, patients request members of the team to be present at birth, which helps create a familiar environment. Postnatally, they are often seen by both the Mental Health team and the Social Work team. We are proud to provide coordinated care and positive pregnancy experiences,” shares Dr Kiran Atmuri.
The initiative has seen a greater overall awareness of perinatal mental health within the unit, as demonstrated by an increase in referrals to the forum and to the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry team. The post-partum period is a particularly vulnerable time for women and having care plans in place allows a smooth transition to community services.
Casey Hospital serves an ever-expanding population growth corridor and such initiatives will ensure excellence in the care that we provide women and young families.