Improving access to pregnancy care for Aboriginal women

Two Aboriginal women standing beside a Fiona Stanley Hospital car
Aboriginal Liaison Officer Lisa Kerley and mum-to-be Katina Beresi.
August 20, 2018

A new patient transport service has been established at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) to assist Aboriginal women to attend appointments throughout their pregnancy.

Leanne Graham, Ambulatory Midwifery Manager said the Maternity Outreach Support program was designed to improve access for Aboriginal women to receive antenatal care at FSH.

“Antenatal care is important as it helps to prevent complications, inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant, and ensure a healthy pregnancy,” Leanne said.

“When we looked at the data, we could see there was a group of patients who weren’t receiving the antenatal care they required.

“The major barriers to these women attending their appointments were transport, financial issues and feelings of vulnerability.”

Coordinated by the maternity service’s dedicated Aboriginal Liaison Officer Lisa Kerley, the service was designed to help pregnant women overcome these barriers.

Lisa follows up with all Aboriginal women scheduled to give birth at FSH to ensure they are able to attend their scheduled appointments, offering transport and support.

“The feedback from these expectant mothers has been really positive with 95 per cent of them attending their antenatal appointments since the program commenced,” Lisa said.

“I have built strong relationships with these women as most of them need to attend FSH every two to three weeks for varying appointments, clinics and education sessions. It is so nice to meet their little one at the end of their journey at the hospital.”

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