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Women's experiences of early pregnancy assessment unit services: a qualitative investigation

Hall, JA, Silverio, SA, Barrett, G, Memtsa, M, Goodhart, V, Bender-Atik, R, Stephenson, J and Jurkovic, D (2021) Women's experiences of early pregnancy assessment unit services: a qualitative investigation. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 128 (13). pp. 2116-2125. ISSN 1470-0328

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Objective: To explore the experiences of women who had used an Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) service in the UK and make recommendations for their improvement. Design: Qualitative interview study. Setting: Early Pregnancy Assessment Units in the UK. Sample: A maximum variation sample of women who had consented to be interviewed having attended one of 26 EPAUs involved in the VESPA study in 2018. Methods: In-depth telephone interviews with 38 women. A thematic framework analysis was conducted, with a focus on how experiences varied according to EPAU service configuration and clinical pathway. Main outcome measures: Women's experiences of EPAU services. Results: We found that EPAUs are highly valued, and women's experiences were generally positive. However, women reported a range of issues that negatively affected their experience. These included difficulties accessing the service, insensitive management of the investigation and treatment options of pregnancy loss, poor communication, insufficient information and a lack of support for their psychological health. These issues were not strongly associated with EPAU configuration or clinical pathway. Conclusions: Recommendations to improve women's experiences include the separation of EPAUs from general maternity services, and we make suggestions on how to remove barriers to access by reviewing opening hours, how to provide sensitive patient management, such as automatically cancelling appointments and scans following pregnancy loss, and how to improve communication, both with women and their partners as well as with other parts of the health service. Tweetable abstract: Early Pregnancy Assessment Units are highly valued by women but aspects of their care experiences, particularly around sensitive management of pregnancy loss, could be improved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Abortion, Spontaneous; Abortion, Induced; Pregnancy; Qualitative Research; Adult; Pregnant Women; Maternal Health Services; Patient Satisfaction; Health Services Accessibility; Female; Interviews as Topic; Young Adult; United Kingdom; Early pregnancy; pregnancy loss; qualitative research; service evaluation; women's experiences; Abortion, Induced; Abortion, Spontaneous; Adult; Female; Health Services Accessibility; Humans; Interviews as Topic; Maternal Health Services; Patient Satisfaction; Pregnancy; Pregnant Women; Qualitative Research; United Kingdom; Young Adult; 11 Medical and Health Sciences; Obstetrics & Reproductive Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2022 16:28
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2022 16:28
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/1471-0528.16866
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18289
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