WA Health Policy for publicly funded Home Births including guidance for consumers, health professionals and health services (Revised October 2013)
This operational directive applies to qualified health professionals (i.e. registered midwives and/or medical practitioners) funded either wholly or in part by the Western Australian (WA) public health system (‘WA Health’) who are providing continuity of care for women who are eligible and enrol to have a planned home birth, and to all WA Health providers of birthing services.
This policy applies to all WA Health service providers with maternity services.† It requires administrators and health managers to inform all relevant staff of the “Policy for publicly funded Home Births including guidance for consumers, health professionals and health services (Revised October 2013)”.
Health services with birthing facilities are required to facilitate access for women who choose home birth as set out in the Policy, including having procedures and protocols in place to support this model of maternity care.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) National Guidelines for Consultation and Referral, 3rd Edition, 2013. Note Ė there are some differences in the exclusion criteria for home birth in this policy and the ACM guidelines.
Requirements for all WA Health hospitals and health services providing maternity services.†
All health service administrators and health professionals are informed of the “Policy for publicly funded Home Births including guidance for consumers, health professionals and health services (Revised October 2013)”.
All health service providers with maternity services will:
- Develop and implement a procedure to ensure the safe and timely transfer from home to hospital for women who require transfer (antenatal, intrapartum or postnatal) whilst maintaining continuity of midwifery care with their WA Health home birth midwife. This procedure will be aligned with this Policy.
- Develop and implement orientation programs for all WA Health home birth midwives to ensure they meet the clinical and procedural requirements to practice in all maternity units.† This will result in continuity of carer as appropriate should a woman under her/his care require transfer to hospital for the birth.
Professor Bryant Stokes
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WA
BIBLIOGRAPHY / REFERENCES:
||Department of Health Western Australia. Improving Maternity Services: Working Together Across Western Australia Ė A Policy Framework, 2007.
||Department of Health Western Australia. Models of Maternity Care: Updated Evidence on Outcomes and Safety of Planned Home Birth February 2011.
||Australian College of Midwives Inc. National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral: 3rd Edition, 2013. Canberra: Australian College of Midwives.
||Department of Health Western Australia. Review of homebirths in Western Australia, August 2008.