Quality improvement in action: Timely and accurate WCTO referrals

News
01 Feb 2018

Timely and accurate Well Child Tamariki Ora (WCTO) referrals are an essential part of providing mothers and newborns with a seamless transition of care – a point that was emphasised at a combined WCTO/LMC update session last year.

West Coast Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) Mary McGrane was one of 40 health professionals who attended the session in August 2017, which focused on improving understanding about local child health, WCTO and maternity services.

Held in Greymouth, overall feedback from the session indicated attendees planned to transfer the knowledge they learnt into their daily practice, including a better understanding of WCTO providers in the community, and an improved understanding about referral pathways – especially the difference between the newborn multi-enrolment notification and the clinical referral by LMCs to WCTO providers.

Mary has been recognised by the West Coast WCTO coordination service for her timely, accurate referrals. She says the session provided a useful forum and highlighted how important it is for mother and baby to experience a seamless transition from one service to the next. “The benefits are two-fold – the role of the midwife is to work as part of a team and an important part of what we do is ensuring a smooth transition to WCTO, so the woman’s journey is not fragmented and she feels confident with the level of care she is receiving.

“Secondly, it means more efficient data entry and information for the Well Child providers, which details everything, from their pregnancy to labour and delivery records. And if there are any issues that need discussed further, then a verbal handover is given. I aim to send the referral by the end of the third week – it’s really about respect to both the client and the next caregiver.”

Jodie Millar, office administrator for Nelson Marlborough/West Coast Plunket area, says the earlier they receive the referral, the better – ideally by the end of the third week. “Best practice is to complete the newborn multi-enrolment form in hospital, straight after the birth, so we can load the client’s information into our database and a Plunket nurse can be notified as early as possible that a baby is due to be seen. A referral with clinical information is then sent for handover. Our nurses really appreciate receiving as much extra info as possible. An acknowledgement of receiving the referral is sent to the LMC – either via text or email – who is then able to inform the mother who their Plunket Nurse is, which is nice, so it’s a smooth, coordinated service.”