Committed to Research

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Co-designing postnatal care for women and families in the new Blacktown maternity unit:
single room with a carer’s space-nested within a larger research project-MAP
Lisa White, CMC Infant Feeding, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals

Lisa White, CMC Infant Feeding, Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals

The redevelopment of the Blacktown Hospital, with a new maternity unit opening in July 2019, offers a unique opportunity to redesign postnatal care to optimise maternal and newborn health. We aim to co-design, with consumers, a new model of care and to examine how design of postnatal spaces impacts on maternal and family outcomes. This project is nested within a larger research project: MAP- mothers and postnatal care at Blacktown hospital.

This project represents a world-first opportunity to examine how the design of a maternity unit influences postnatal care as well as maternal and newborn health. The provision of safe, high-quality, and satisfying postnatal care for women and their babies in hospital is an ongoing challenge in New South Wales and nationally. Few attempts have been made to understand the components of care, or the pathways and processes that women find most helpful.


Our People

The MAP project represents a collaboration between Western Sydney University: Professor V. Schmied, Dr E. Burns, Dr A. Dadich and Blacktown Hospital: clients, midwives and managers. The overarching aim of this multi-phased project is to optimise maternal and newborn health.

Current Research

This research will focus on the single-bed rooms and the carer space to ensure they are used, effectively and efficiently, to promote postnatal care that is tailored to meet the diverse and changing needs of the mother, her newborn child, and her family. Given the cultural diversity represented within the city of Blacktown – which is ‘a home to over 350,000 people representing around 188 birthplaces and 182 different languages’– the research team will collaborate closely with representatives of different cultural groups. They will continue to do so for the purpose of this project to engage people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as people who identify as Indigenous.

To ascertain the impact of the new model(s) of care, strategies and resources on midwives’ workplace satisfaction we will survey all midwives providing postnatal care in hospital or in the community at Blacktown maternity service.

This is a 3 phased project involving:

  1. Pre implementation surveys A sample of 150 women receiving care surveyed online, focus groups conducted with women (patients), community representatives and health professionals to determine the “current state” of postnatal care focusing on outcomes such as breastfeeding; parenting confidence; satisfaction with care; knowledge.
  2. Workshops with staff/consumers to design the new model focusing on the single room and role of carer, and development of resources online and paper-based followed by a 3-month period of supported implementation in the new unit.
  3. Development of educational resources to support parental knowledge and skill development –handout/short video on patient infotainment system (with a focus on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse women and those with low literacy).

This is a significant project as it will facilitate the change to the new environment with a clear vision suited to our demographic, enable us to develop resources (such as a handout, short video for women and their support person/carer to promote their transition to becoming a parent) and build our research capacity. For maternity staff involved (Midwives, Managers and myself) this project allows us to lead important research on effective models of postnatal care.

All staff aim to provide excellent safe and high quality maternity care and in working with Western Sydney University, there is a chance to examine current care, and take what is working well together with innovative ideas into the new model. Maternity staff are also enthusiastic that they will have a voice in the change process.

Publications and Reports

The findings will be presented at relevant State/National Conferences as well as articles written for Journal publication to enable Midwives and health care providers to improve meeting the needs of our population.

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