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Summary

Research suggests that many stillbirths may be avoidable. We also know there is low awareness of the risk factors for stillbirth.

We teamed up with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, using the IHI’s proven Model for improvement.

From June 2019 to May 2021, the Safer baby collaborative worked with participating Victorian health services to reduce stillbirth rates during the third trimester.

Using the ‘Partnering in healthcare’ framework, we included consumer voices and representatives across the participating teams, and in leadership roles for this program.

We tested and spread evidence-based clinical care to reduce the rates of stillbirth, focussing on five areas of practice:

  • Improving rates of smoking cessation in pregnancy
  • Diagnosis and management of fetal growth restriction
  • Increasing public awareness of the importance of fetal movements
  • Raising awareness of safe maternal sleep positions
  • Promoting appropriate timing of birth and mitigating unintended consequences or harm.


Phase 1 ran from June 2019 – March 2020, before being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 2 commenced in November 2020 and concluded in May 2021, with the majority of services continuing their participation.

Update

The Safer baby collaborative concluded in May 2021. Despite unprecedented circumstances, including a global pandemic and devastating bushfires, the participating health services achieved exceptional outcomes for Victorians. Safer Care Victoria would like to extend our sincere gratitude to those who contributed to this work under such exceptional circumstances. 

The 15 Victorian health services that completed both phases of the Safer baby collaborative sought to reduce stillbirth rates across the state. Data collected throughout the collaborative indicates that 20 stillbirths were prevented in the course of the collaborative. This is a remarkable achievement and a life changing outcome for 20 Victorian families. These teams also: 

  • Increased smoking cessation rates of women during pregnancy by 200%, from an average rate of 11% to 33%
  • Decreased the stillbirth rate by 21%, from an average rate of 0.24% to 0.19%
  • Increased the days between stillbirths by 131%, from an average of 3.5 days to 8.1 days, including periods of 47 days and 32 days without a stillbirth occurring at any of the reporting sites. 

 

The full report on the Safer baby collaborative will contain further details on what was achieved, how it was achieved and where we can go from here to ensure outstanding healthcare for all Victorians, always. 

Who was involved?

Albury Wodonga Health

Ballarat Health Services

Benalla and District Memorial Hospital

Bendigo Health

Cabrini Health

Djerriwarrh Health Services

East Grampians Health Service - Ararat

Eastern Health – Angliss Hospital

Eastern Health – Box Hill Hospital

Echuca Regional Health

Latrobe Regional Hospital

Maryborough District Health Service

Monash Health – Casey Hospital

Monash Health - Clayton

Monash Health – Dandenong Hospital

Northern Health

Peninsula Health – Frankston Hospital

Royal Women's Hospital - Women's Alcohol and Drug Service

South West Healthcare - Warrnambool

St Vincent’s Private Hospital

Werribee Mercy

West Gippsland Healthcare Group

 

 

Resources for health services

Partnering in healthcare framework

Our Partnering in healthcare framework and self-assessment tool will help services involve women and their families, respond to their needs and expectations and deliver care that is safe, woman-centered, equitable and effective.

Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children report 2019

For the first time in 18 years, maternity data is showing a decline in stillbirth rates (Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children 2019 report).

The Victoria’s Mothers, Babies and Children report from the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM), provides access to comprehensive data on all maternal, perinatal and paediatric mortality and morbidity, including stillbirth.

Perinatal services performance indicators 2019-20

The Victorian Perinatal services performance indicators report provides benchmarking data on a range of clinical indicators, including smoking cessation and detection of fetal growth restriction.

Get in touch

Page last updated: 13 Sep 2021

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