Midwives' views on appropriate antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests: do they match clients' preferences?
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OBJECTIVE: this study aims to provide insight into: (a) midwives' views on appropriate antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests, and (b) whether these views match clients' preferences regarding antenatal counselling. DESIGN: a comparative (midwives versus clients) questionnaire survey. Cognitive interviews (n=8) were used to validate the internal validity of the midwifery questionnaire results. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: 1416 Dutch midwives (response 62%) completed a questionnaire measuring their views on appropriate antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests. MEASUREMENTS: we used the 58-item midwives' version of the QUOTE (prenatal), an instrument to assess clients' counselling preferences. Descriptive statistics were used to explore midwives' views on appropriate counselling and how these relate to client preferences as measured previously with the clients' version of the QUOTE (prenatal). FINDINGS: almost all midwives consider the client-midwife relation (100%) and health education (95%) to be (very) important for appropriate antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests. Almost half of the midwives consider decision-making support (47%) to be (very) important. These findings are practically congruent with client preferences. Still, clinically relevant differences were found regarding 13 individual items, e.g. more clients than midwives value 'medical information about congenital anomalies' and 'getting advice whether to take prenatal tests or not'. KEY CONCLUSION: like clients, most midwives value a good client-midwife relation and health education as (very) important for antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests. Less than half of them value decision-making support. These findings are in contrast with the literature in which decision-making support is seen as the most important part of antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests. IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE: preferably, antenatal counselling for congenital anomaly tests should be consistent with the three-function model of antenatal counselling i.e. maintaining a client-midwife relation, providing health education as well as decision-making support, and tailored to clients' individual preferences. As not all midwives subscribe to these functions, reflection on their views is important. Furthermore, midwives need to bridge their views on appropriate antenatal counselling and client preferences. To do so, midwives may benefit from the Shared Decision Making approach.
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