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Article

Continuity of care in community midwifery

Citation
Bowers J, Cheyne H, Mould G & Page M (2015) Continuity of care in community midwifery. Health Care Management Science, 18 (2), pp. 195-204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10729-014-9285-z

Abstract
Continuity of care is often critical in delivering high quality health care. However, it is difficult to achieve in community health care where shift patterns and a need to minimise travelling time can reduce the scope for allocating staff to patients. Community midwifery is one example of such a challenge in the National Health Service where postnatal care typically involves a series of home visits. Ideally mothers would receive all of their antenatal and postnatal care from the same midwife. Minimising the number of staff-handovers helps ensure a better relationship between mothers and midwives, and provides more opportunity for staff to identify emerging problems over a series of home visits. This study examines the allocation and routing of midwives in the community using a variant of a multiple travelling salesmen problem algorithm incorporating staff preferences to explore trade-offs between travel time and continuity of care. This algorithm was integrated in a simulation to assess the additional effect of staff availability due to shift patterns and part-time working. The results indicate that continuity of care can be achieved with relatively small increases in travel time. However, shift patterns are problematic: perfect continuity of care is impractical but if there is a degree of flexibility in the visit schedule, reasonable continuity is feasible.

Keywords
Home health care; Staff scheduling; Routing; Simulation

Journal
Health Care Management Science: Volume 18, Issue 2

StatusPublished
Author(s)Bowers, John; Cheyne, Helen; Mould, Gillian; Page, Miranda
Publication date30/06/2015
Publication date online06/06/2014
Date accepted by journal13/05/2014
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/20893
PublisherSpringer
ISSN1386-9620
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