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Journal Articles BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Year : 2022

The challenge of care coordination by midwives during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national descriptive survey


Background: As part of a decades-long process of restructuring primary care, independent (also known as community) healthcare workers are being encouraged to work in groups to facilitate their coordination and continuity of care in France. French independent midwives perform about half of the early prenatal interviews that identify mothers' needs during pregnancy and then refer them to the appropriate resources. The French government, however, structured the COVID-19 pandemic response around public health institutions and did not directly mobilise these community healthcare workers during the lockdown phase. These responses have raised questions about their role within the healthcare system in crises. This survey's main objectives were to estimate the proportion of independent midwives who experienced new difficulties in referring women to healthcare facilities or other caregivers and in collaborating with hospitals during the first stage of this pandemic. The secondary objective was to estimate the proportion, according to their mode of practice, of independent midwives who considered that all the women under their care had risked harm due to failed or delayed referral to care. Methods: We conducted an online national survey addressed to independent midwives in France from 29 April to 15 May 2020, around the end of the first lockdown (17 March-11 May, 2020). Results: Of the 5264 registered independent midwives in France, 1491 (28.3%) responded; 64.7% reported new or greater problems during the pandemic in referring women to health facilities or care-providers, social workers in particular, and 71.0% reported new difficulties collaborating with hospitals. Nearly half (46.2%) the respondents considered that all the women in their care had experienced, to varying degrees, a lack of or delay in care that could have affected their health. This proportion did not differ according to the midwives' form of practice: solo practice, group practice with other midwives only, or group practice with at least two types of healthcare professionals. Conclusions: The pandemic has degraded the quality of pregnant women's care in France and challenged the French model of care, which is highly compartmentalised between an almost exclusively independent primary care (community) sector and a predominantly salaried secondary care (hospital) sector.
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inserm-03694183 , version 1 (13-06-2022)



Laurent Gaucher, Corinne Dupont, Sylvain Gautier, Sophie Baumann, Anne Rousseau. The challenge of care coordination by midwives during the COVID-19 pandemic: a national descriptive survey. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2022, 22 (1), pp.437. ⟨10.1186/s12884-022-04772-2⟩. ⟨inserm-03694183⟩
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