Best Practice Guidelines for Interprofessional Collaboration

Collaborative care throughout the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum periods is crucial to safety in all birth settings, including hospital, birth center, and home. Collaboration improves health outcomes, as well as quality and experience of care. Collaboration between health providers also meets the diverse needs and preferences of families. Optimal care during the childbearing year depends upon both effective interprofessional collaboration and systems-level support for community based providers.

Obstetricians, family physicians, nurse-practitioners, and midwives provide care consistent with their education, expertise, and scope of practice. When they work together they can establish systems to enhance effective communication, role clarity, access to services, and coordination of care across settings. Best Practice Guidelines for Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital as well as Implementation Tools are available and delineate consultation, collaboration, and referral during the intrapartum period. However, most available evidence based guidelines do not specifically delineate the nature of collaboration and coordination of care between community based midwives and physicians during the antepartum, postpartum, and newborn phases. Hence, this document, prepared by the multi-disciplinary Home Birth Summit Collaboration Task Force, describes best practices for promoting interprofessional collaboration across community-based and institutional settings for care during the childbearing year.

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