Improving Postpartum Care: Identifying Opportunities to Reduce Postpartum Emergency Room Visits Among Publicly-Insured Women of Color

Taylor Harrell, Elizabeth A. Howell, Amy Balbierz, Luz Guel, Juan Pena, Teresa Janevic, Ksenia Gorbenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background/Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the postpartum experiences of publicly-insured women of color, and identify how postpartum care can be improved to reduce hospital emergency department usage after delivery. Methods: We conducted four focus groups with 18 publicly-insured women who primarily self-identified as Black and/or Latina and gave birth between June 1, 2019 and May 1, 2020. We used inductive qualitative analysis to identify prominent themes from focus group discussions. Results: We identified four domains: (1) lack of access to and communication with a medical team; (2) lack of preparation; (3) value of social support; and (4) participant-identified opportunities for improvement. Conclusions for Practice: This study describes the postpartum experiences of publicly-insured women of color with the objective of identifying areas for intervention to reduce postpartum emergency department usage. Our findings suggest that focused efforts on enhancing continuity of care to increase healthcare access, strengthening patient-provider communication by training providers to recognize unconscious bias, increasing postpartum preparation by adapting teaching materials to an online format, and engaging women’s caregivers throughout the pregnancy course to bolster social support, may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Emergency department
  • Health disparities
  • Maternal health
  • Medicaid-insured
  • Postpartum

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