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Telephone hotline of the Association of Midwives of Thurgau

At a glance


Since the introduction of Swiss Diagnosis Related Groups (SwissDRG), the new tariff system for acute somatic inpatient hospital services, hospital stays after childbirth have shortened and accordingly outpatient postpartum care services provided by midwives have gradually gained more importance. It is therefore important that families who are not able to organise a midwife themselves or who are not aware of what is available in outpatient postpartum care receive help and support regarding the network of medical care which can be provided. The midwives in the canton of Thurgau have initiated a telephone hotline to fill the gap and help arrange contact with midwives quickly for families in need. The purpose of this study is to externally evaluate the achievements of the Association of Midwives of Thurgau and the resulting benefits for stakeholders.

The Association of Midwives of Thurgau was founded in 2014 and aims to strengthen the public awareness of independent midwives. At the beginning of 2016 the Association of Midwives of Thurgau initiated a telephone hotline that every year arranges contacts with midwives offering out-of-hospital midwifery care to approx. 300 postpartum women. An external evaluation of the services provided and the benefits for the stakeholders is essential in view of a long-term collaboration with all of the parties involved.

The evaluation of the telephone hotline of the Association of Midwives of Thurgau seeks to assess the following aspects to work out the potential for improvement:
1. description of the services provided by the hotline
2. description of the characteristics of women helped by the hotline
3. benefits, opportunities and challenges the hotline offers to midwives
4. benefits the hotline offers to sponsors (canton, communities, hospitals) and hospital staff and the challenges and opportunities it raises

For this external evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research methods are used. Quantitative data (registration data, online questionnaire) will be analysed descriptively and qualitative data (individual interviews) will be evaluated using content analysis. This project has been divided into three different modules to answer various questions.

Various stakeholders are involved in the three project modules as they differ according to their intrinsic aims and methods:

Module 1 includes services offered by the Association and characteristics of the users: in addition to the routinely collected statistics, the hotline will also collect sociodemographic and perinatal data of the users as well as care related information over one year. Descriptive analysis will be used.

Module 2 includes benefits, opportunities and challenges for midwives: online surveys are conducted with hotline midwives on their job satisfaction and the care provided to users of the hotline. Descriptive analysis will be used.

Module 3 includes benefits to sponsors and hospital staff and the associated challenges and opportunities: individual interviews with community officials, cantonal authorities and hospital officials are conducted. Interviews are transcribed verbatim and evaluated by qualitative content analysis.

The Association of Midwives of Thurgau is breaking new ground in demonstrating the benefit of its services to sponsors, staff in contracted hospitals and midwives with this current external evaluation. This is an important step toward securing long-term cooperation and financial support. The evaluation will also show which families can be reached by the hotline. It is believed that many psychosocially burdened families, who otherwise would have remained unaware and left to themselves, can benefit from postpartum care. The hotline thus plays an important role in the early accompaniment of vulnerable families, which is extremely valuable for the long-term healthy development of their children.


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