UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Early postpartum discharge : factors affecting a woman’s decision not to participate Mahy, Jill


This study was designed to investigate factors influencing a woman’s decision not to participate in an early postpartum discharge program. A factor-searching exploratory survey study was chosen for this study. The conceptual framework directing the study was Pender’s (1987) Health Promotion Model. The sample was composed of 55 postpartum women who gave birth at a tertiary care maternity hospital during a two month period. The study participants and their newborns had met the hospital’s early discharge program criteria but the women had made the decision not to participate. All the women in the study were interviewed by the investigator on their second or third postpartum day prior to hospital discharge. The reasons expressed by the women for not participating in the hospital’s early discharge program were grouped into two major categories: need for physical and emotional restoration, and need for care. External and internal influences on their decision were also identified. The need for physical and emotional restoration included the following: need for sleep, rest and relaxation, need for comfort, and need for time alone. The need for care included: need for help, need for support, and need for protection. External and internal influences and barriers affecting a woman’s decision to stay in the hospital included: children at home, no help at home, lack of awareness of the program and influences of physician and family. Recommendations from this study include the need for further research to examine the perceptions and benefits of early discharge in regards to consumers, varying cultural groups, and health-care professionals. Education with respect to the concept of early discharge is also needed. Postpartum preparation and planning for women and their families in the prenatal period through strong collaboration and networking between hospitals and community health units, and the establishment of family, community support systems, and resources is crucial. Development of a regional wide perinatal home care program, standardized perinatal healthcare and follow-up for childbearing women and their families is also strongly recommended.

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