Multidisciplinary collaboration leads to maternity service expansion

Good interprofessional relationships and collaboration have been present since midwifery care was introduced in Temiskaming in 2010. This led to an expansion of services which includes midwifery care in the community and water birth at the hospital for some physician patients. “There’s been a general openness and willingness to learn and grow on the part of all parties,” says midwife Kim Cloutier Holtz.

Cloutier Holtz began practicing in Temiskaming three years ago, but had started building good working relationships with hospital staff long beforehand. While her practice application to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was being finalized, Cloutier Holtz worked closely with physicians and hospital staff to build a good foundation for the delivery of midwifery services in the community. “They rely on me, and I rely on them. We work together to provide the best patient or client care,” she says.

Clinical nurse manager Joan Brazeau agrees that education has been an essential part of bringing the team together.  “From the beginning, we’ve involved Kim as part of our team. Kim helped with the education of staff and physicians. Through our collaboration, this service is now available to the community.”

Dr. Stacy Ann Desilets, a family physician who provides obstetrical care and works closely with Cloutier Holtz, says she has learned a great deal through the collaborative relationship. “I think it has improved my care in that I’ve learned techniques, non-medical ways of supporting labouring women through watching Kim and discussing cases and working with her.”

The staff at Temiskaming Hospital believe some of the initiatives from this collaborative model, such as water birth, will result in cost benefits to the hospital and better outcomes for patients. They are currently tracking their data to verify if this is happening.

“Especially with water labour and birth,” says Desilets. “Over time, [we anticipate] we’ll see less of a need for other types of analgesia, which would be cost-effective for the hospital and also ideal for reducing the risks for mom and baby.”