Caboolture mums and bubs starting well thanks to local initiative

Mar 27, 2024

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A collaborative Brisbane North PHN and Metro North Health initiative is enhancing ante and postnatal care for vulnerable mums and newborns through better access to maternity services in the Caboolture region.

Established as a pilot program by the Health Alliance in 2020, the Starting Well Initiative provides soon-to-be and new mums with access to their own midwife during pregnancy and after birth, and to child and maternity services at the same site.

The model was co-designed by local midwives, nurses, GPs and families to enhance continuity of care and maternity service navigation.

In the original iteration of the Starting Well pilot multiple maternity services, including provision of lactation rooms and other children's health services delivered by Children's Health Queensland nurses, were co-located for convenience at one site.

Following the pilot's success, Starting Well was implemented by Caboolture Hospital using existing resources at Morayfield Health Hub in 2021, and has since continued to improve health outcomes for mother and baby. The program has demonstrated an increase in babies born in normal birth weight range (comparative to Core Maternity Services), and increased healthcare appointment attendance rates both during pregnancy and upon the birth of the child.

91 per cent of Starting Well babies are born at full-term compared to 86 per cent across the wider maternity service.

Caboolture resident Ashlee Corlett accessed the Starting Well Initiative after discovering it online and praised the service and its team for providing genuine care.

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Pictured: Rebecca Zgrajewski | Caboolture Hospital Midwife (left), Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women | the Hon. Shannon Fentiman MP and Libby Dunstan | Brisbane North PHN CEO with Caboolture resident Ashlee Corlett and son Arlo

Ashlee with her son Arlo (8 months), joined representatives from the PHN and Metro North on Tuesday to discuss her experience using the program with Queensland Minister for Health and Women, the Hon. Shannon Fentiman MP.

“Being new to the area, I did not know where to go to ask, and also being a first-time mum it was amazing having someone with me from the start and another six weeks after," said Ashlee.

I felt so supported by my midwife and I’m astounded by the genuine care and advocacy she had for me, including linking me in with lots of services I had never heard of.

Ashlee Corlett, Starting Well mum

Minister Fentiman said Starting Well was just one example of direct community care that was showing “huge benefits” to both women and children in the Caboolture region.

“In just a short time, the program has managed to generate an increase in appointment presentations for pregnant women as well as antenatal appointments, allowing babies to receive ongoing care within the continuity of the same midwifery treating team,” Minister Fentiman said.

Brisbane North PHN CEO Libby Dunstan said quality ante and postnatal care for mothers can set young children and families up for a positive start towards lifelong wellbeing.

“This program is a wonderful practical example of the ongoing commitment that Caboolture Hospital have to ensure children in the region are born healthy and raised strong in their families."

Since launching, the Starting Well Initiative has supported more than 230 local families throughout pregnancy and post birth.

As a first time mum or during any pregnancy, [Starting Well] is a safe space linking me to the appropriate services I need.

Ashlee Corlett, Starting Well mum

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