WDGPH cancels universal postpartum telephone follow-up

GUELPH – The local health unit has cancelled its postpartum telephone follow-up for families without risk.

At its November meeting the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) board received a report outlining the program cancellation and the launch of a new app as “an alternative medium for the provision of accurate, concise, postpartum health information.”

This is the first time public health has used an app for e-health education, the report states.

Postpartum care is part of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program offered by public health and applies to families with children from birth to seven weeks of age.

Currently, each baby and family is screened by hospital and midwife partners to determine eligibility for public health services.

There are 36 items included in the screening that “contribute to risk for pregnancy and birth outcomes as well as poor parenting and developmental outcomes.”

About half of the screens, both locally and provincially, show families with babies that are at risk.

This means there is serious likelihood that the child may not reach his or her development potential and that the family may benefit from intensive HBHC services, the report indicates.

When HBHC discontinued postpartum follow-ups and visits for families without risk, WDGPH tried to maintain the universal telephone follow-up for all postpartum families.

The cancellation of the universal postpartum telephone and home visit outreach coincide with the launch of a new mobile app called Understanding Your Newborn.

The free app is compatible with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the report states, and it includes “evidence-based prenatal and postnatal education materials.”

Officials say the app’s advantages include ease of use; short, concise blocks of information; short how-to videos; information available all day, every day; and accessibility of mobile devices.

Some of the different topics covered on the new app include: newborn traits and behaviours; crying and comforting; breastfeeding; newborn care; newborn health; newborn safety; mother’s emotional and physical health; infant formula; and family adjustment.

“The new app will be offered universally and … will provide timely information and anticipatory guidance to new parents,” the report states.

The app can be accessed through emailing triage.hbhc@wdgpublichealth.ca with the subject line BABYAPP.

A code will be emailed back within two business days.