The postpartum recovery experience both at the hospital and at home is an essential component of the overall birth experience. Providing your consumers with a positive transition “from pregnant to parent” impacts your bottom line in more ways than one. We’ve got five to talk about.
BFFL Co. revealed that 75 percent of new mothers they surveyed nationwide “did not feel rejuvenated and well-prepared to take care of their infant when leaving the hospital.” A majority of respondents felt they weren’t given the tools to help them feel prepared, and almost 30 percent didn’t feel they received excellent postpartum care in the hospital so that they could rest and heal. Organizational tools and helpful items they could use during as well as following their hospital stay were also lacking, according to nearly two-thirds of the mothers.
Your facility can benefit in a number of ways by stepping up to the postpartum care plate.
Consumer loyalty: New mothers who have had a positive birth experience, including postpartum care, are more likely to return to your facility. Besides future pregnancies, entire families may feel comfortable returning for other services relating to back care, heart health, diabetes, orthopedics and even senior care.
Increased patient volume: You can differentiate yourself by actively promoting postpartum care on your website and during patient interactions, giving your facility an edge that puts you ahead of others who don’t place any emphasis on this aspect of the childbirth experience.
Improved patient satisfaction scores: High patient satisfaction ratings on the HCAHPS survey may be rewarded with financial incentives.
Marketing opportunities — and some of them are free: Those lists of “Best Hospitals to Have a Baby” factor patient feedback into their rating processes. The facilities who make these lists are included at no cost. There are also opportunities for those named to buy advertising in these special edition magazines — opportunities that are not available to every healthcare provider in the city or region. These and other awards can also be prominently mentioned on your website and in your own marketing materials.
Word of mouth/social media endorsement — more free marketing. Studies show that most women begin their hospital choice research by asking friends where they gave birth. Popular bloggers also have a great deal of influence over hospital ratings. The better the feedback from friends and other new moms, the higher the chance consumers will choose your facility over others (when it’s a choice available to them through their insurance provider).
So what are some steps you can take to contribute to a positive postpartum experience? While hospital budgets, staffing levels and insurance requirements all impose certain constraints, we’ve put together some suggestions based on our research.
- Start early. Actively promote and explain postpartum care during as many consumer interactions as possible — tours, classes, your website and more.
- Make childbirth classes an opportunity to emphasize the details and importance of well-thought-out postpartum care.
- Encourage the creation of a postpartum plan. Explain what it is and why it can greatly improve the parental experience. Templates can be found online, or your facility could provide some examples.
- Create a simple yet thorough set of resources to help your new moms and distribute them in both physical and digital formats. Resources to include might be: schedules; phone numbers; emergency situation information; maternal mental health; breastfeeding; and mommy/baby talk support groups. Bring this information together all in one location, whether organized in a folder or on a single webpage that compiles vital information as well as links. Share community resources, too.
- Educate consumers about maternal mental health. You can find excellent information and tools at 2020mom.org.
- Send them home with informative books like A New Beginning as well as a link to the eBook version for easy reading anywhere.
- Review your postpartum in-hospital routines and procedures. Are there ways to promote better sleep with items like sleep masks, or a better schedule for nurses to follow in completing their care activities? Ask your postpartum nurses for input.
Birth may be the finish line to pregnancy, but it’s the first step of parenthood. Parents-to-be may be overwhelmed with all the changes occurring during the pregnancy itself, but they also need to be realistically thinking about the ways their everyday lives will change once their baby is born. Every woman may picture those post-pregnancy days as blissful and exciting. In reality, they're also messy and exhausting, and moms need to be prepared for that. From the care you provide at your facility to helping them feel prepared to go home, you have a direct impact on their postpartum experience. Let’s make it a positive one.