What is a Continuity of Care Experience (CCE)?
In Australia, midwifery students, under supervision from the woman’s chosen care provider (midwife, obstetrician or GP) are expected to engage with and provide support to women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postnatal period – this is referred to as the CCE. The intention of the CCE is to enable students to experience continuity with individual women through pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period, where practicable and irrespective of the carers chosen by the woman or of the availability of midwifery continuity of care models. CCE means the ongoing midwifery relationship between the student midwife and the woman from the initial contact in pregnancy through to the weeks immediately after the woman has given birth, across the interface between community and hospital settings. A woman must be no more than 35 weeks pregnant at the first meeting with the student.
What does CCE involve?
The midwifery student may accompany the woman to antenatal appointments, classes or screening tests. The student may also be invited to attend the birth as a support person and may maintain contact for 4-6 weeks after the birth. The level of involvement is at the discretion of the woman and will depend on the availability of the woman and student, ideally accruing around 15 hours of face-to-face time during the course of the partnership.
The woman will be asked to sign a consent form which is kept securely in the student’s file on campus. The student documents the partnership as a case study, but the name of the woman, the care provider or place of birth will not be used in order to protect privacy.
What are the benefits to the woman in being involved in the CCE program?
The woman has the opportunity to build a relationship with the student midwife; the student midwife provides support to the woman and her partner. Women report positive experiences engaging in CCE, building a partnership where they felt empowered and developed trust and a strong bond with the student.
What are the benefits to the student in participating in the CCE program?
Students learn from talking and listening to women, by observing the relationship between the woman and her care-provider and in developing a range of skills including developing professional relationships, time management, documentation, and clinical midwifery skills. Students are exposed to a range of different models of care, where they experience different perspectives and ways of thinking which is important in developing their own way of practice.
How to be involved in the program…
Any woman interested in sharing their pregnancy experience as part of the CCE program can complete the Expression of Interest form and the CCE co-ordinator will allocate a student midwife who will contact you and arrange a time to meet. Alternatively, a midwifery student may introduce her/himself during antenatal clinic. If the woman decides to go ahead and be involved in the program the midwifery student will ask the woman to sign a consent form, which will then be forwarded to the university.
The woman can withdraw from the program at any time; we ask that the CCE co-ordinator is informed of the decision via email.
The choices and decisions made by the woman are not impacted upon at any time by the student midwife’s involvement. The woman and her partner choose what they share with the student and privacy and confidentiality is maintained at all times. The student midwife is bound by University policy, Midwifery Code of Practice, Code of Ethics and Competency Standards in order to maintain professional standards.