Improving Postpartum Follow-Up Through Enhanced Prenatal Education and Concurrent Scheduling with a One-Month Well Baby Visit
Stress of transitioning to parenthood, hormonal fluctuations as well as physical changes, and complications during postpartum could be addressed at the routine postpartum follow-up visit to avoid long-term adverse effects. While emphasis on preconception and prenatal care has increased nationwide, attendance at this important visit is on the decline. The purpose of this project was to investigate how enhanced prenatal education and concurrent scheduling of a well-baby visit at four weeks, instead of the traditional six weeks, could increase adherence to recommended follow-up care at a federally qualified health clinic in the Southwestern United States.
The Theory of Reasoned Action guided the intervention while Rosswurum and Larrabee’s evidence-based practice model was used to develop the project. The pre-existing weekly prenatal education program was enhanced with information regarding the importance of a four-week postpartum follow-up visit. Front desk schedulers were educated to offer same day appointments for the postpartum care visit and one-month well-baby appointment. Data collection took place for three months after implementation of the project and was compared to adherence rates during the three months prior to the intervention. Providers and scheduling staff members participated in a short post-intervention interview. Prenatal education and convenience of concurrent scheduling increased the percentage of adherence to follow-up visits over a three-month period. Providers and clinic staff recommend continuing with the process changes to increase patient’s access to family centered care.