Predictors of Acceptance of a Postpartum Public Health Nurse Home Visit
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OBJECTIVES: To determine 1) rates of offer and uptake of a home visit provided through Ontario's universal Hospital Stay and Postpartum Home Visiting Program, and 2) predictors of acceptance of a home visit. METHODS: Women were eligible to participate if they had given birth vaginally to a live singleton infant, were being discharged with the infant to their care, were competent to give consent, and could communicate in one of the four study languages. A self-report questionnaire was used to collect data from 1,250 women recruited from five hospitals across the province; 890 (71.2%) women completed a structured telephone interview 4 weeks following discharge. RESULTS: Most women (81.4% to 97.8%) reported having received a telephone call from a public health nurse, although not necessarily within 48 hours of discharge. While the offer of a home visit reportedly was high across sites, there were statistically significant differences in rates of acceptance (40.8% to 76.2%). Important predictors of acceptance were first live birth, lower social support, lower maternal rating of services in labour and delivery, poorer maternal self-reported health, probable postpartum depression, lower maternal rating of services on the postpartum unit, and breastfeeding initiation. CONCLUSION: The home visiting component of the universal program is reaching most women through telephone follow-up. However, rates of acceptance of a home visit differed greatly across study sites. The findings suggest that it is women with specific problems or needs who are accepting a visit. Further research is necessary to guide the development of evidence-based programs and policies regarding postpartum nurse home visits.
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