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General Information and Developments

First Six Weeks

After my baby is born and we have left hospital, for how long can I contact/access the unit's services for me?

For queries, this varies with about half the units specifying 6 weeks, for 1 unit it's 3 months and for 8 units it's 'unlimited' or 'as required'. For services, 2 units do not offer services, 9 units offer services up to 6 weeks, others mention community services which means your public health nurse or your GP. Generally, services can be accessed by phoning in (sometimes to the postnatal ward you stayed on) or turning up at the unit with or without a GP referring you. Almost all units have 24-hour emergency phone access.

Access for mothers following discharge:

For queries:
For services:
How services are accessed:
Emergency 24-hour service:
Details:

After my baby is born and we have left hospital, for how long can I contact/access the unit's services for my baby?

Not all units answered these questions.

For queries, 6 units specified 6 weeks, 1 unit stated 1 month, another only 5-7 days and 4 units said 'unlimited' or 'as required'. For services, 3 units said they offer services up to 6 weeks, others mentioned community services, which means your public health nurse or your GP, and others stated that care would transfer to paediatrics, sometimes through A&E departments. Services can be accessed via A&E or paediatrics, by GP referral or phoning in.

If your local maternity unit is a dedicated maternity hospital, you will be referred to the nearest children’s hospital or paediatric department in a general hospital. Most 24-hour emergency services are through A&E or paediatric departments.

Access for babies following discharge:

For queries:
For services:
How services are accessed:
Emergency 24-hour service:
Details:

Is there an Early Transfer Home Scheme I can avail of?

Only about one-third of units provide an option for women to receive postnatal care at home from midwives. Care usually extends up to day 5 or day 7 after your baby is born. Details vary, and some units only offer this option to women who availed of community midwifery care throughout their pregnancy.

Other units mentioned that an early visit from a public health nurse or GP can be arranged for women who wish to go home early.

Early transfer home scheme:
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After I leave the maternity unit, if I wish to discuss my labour, birth and/or postnatal experiences what opportunities are available to me?

All units offer opportunities for parents to debrief their birth experience on request. This is generally in the form of an appointment (with senior staff or the staff that cared for you) to explain what happened in detail. This is an opportunity for parents to help staff understand their perspective too.

Opportunities to debrief:
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Is there a drop-in breastfeeding/infant feeding service that I can avail of?

Fifteen units have either drop-in sessions that vary from weekly to monthly, or mothers contact specialist staff to arrange support. Other units give mothers contact details for support in the community.

Drop-in breastfeeding/infant feeding support service:
Details:
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Where will I have my 6-week check-up?

For most women the GP provides the 6-week check-up. In special cases you may return to the maternity unit for your check-up. This may depend on the type of care you've opted for (semi-private & private) or whether you had a caesarean birth or need special follow-up.

Six-week check-up for women:
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Where will my baby have his/her check-ups?

For most babies the GP provides the 2-week and the 6-week check-up. You may be invited to return to your maternity unit for the baby's check-up if specified by a paediatrician or the special care team. Some women availing of private or semi-private care choose a private check-up with a paediatrician.

Check-ups for babies:
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How does the public health nurse know I've left hospital?

Public health nurses are notified of your baby's birth and of your discharge from care. Your public health nurse will contact you following your discharge, typically within a day or two. (Even before your baby is born, it might be worth your while contacting your local health centre to find out which public health nurse covers your area.)

Notification to public health nurse:
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How does my GP know I've left hospital?

Your GP is notified of your baby's birth and of your discharge from care. It is generally up to you to arrange your 6-week check-up. In special circumstances, a woman and/or her baby would be referred to her GP on discharge if required.

Notification to GP:
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How does my maternity unit measure mother/father satisfaction or deal with complaints?

Units use various methods such as satisfaction surveys, suggestion boxes, comment cards, verbal feedback and audits. Everyone has the option to use the HSE's 'your service your say' method of giving feedback, whether positive or negative.

Generally, complaints are dealt with by a unit's complaints officer or another specified member of staff or through use of ‘your service your say’. All complaints are followed up. No unit specified a time limit for making a complaint.

Measuring satisfaction:
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Complaints procedure:
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