The contribution of Australian residential early parenting centres to comprehensive mental health care for mothers of infants: evidence from a prospective studyReport as inadecuate




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International Journal of Mental Health Systems

, 4:6

First Online: 11 April 2010Received: 06 December 2009Accepted: 11 April 2010

Abstract

BackgroundAustralia-s public access residential early parenting services provide programs to assist parents who self-refer, to care for their infants and young children. Treatment programs target infant feeding and sleeping difficulties and maternal mental health. There is limited systematic evidence of maternal and infant mental health, psychosocial circumstances or presenting problems, or the effectiveness of the programs. The aim of this study was to contribute to the evidence base about residential early parenting services.

MethodsA prospective cohort design was used. A consecutive sample of mothers with infants under one year old recruited during admission to a public access residential early parenting service for a 4 or 5 night stay in Melbourne, Australia was recruited. They completed structured self-report questionnaires, incorporating standardised measures of infant behaviour and maternal mood, during admission and at one and six months after discharge. Changes in infant behaviour and maternal psychological functioning after discharge were observed.

Results79 women completed the first questionnaire during admission, and 58 provided complete data. Women admitted to the residential program have poor physical and mental health, limited family support, and infants with substantial behaviour difficulties. One month after discharge significant improvements in infant behaviour and maternal psychological functioning were observed mean SD daily crying and fussing during admission = 101.02 100.8 minutes reduced to 37.7 55.2 at one month post discharge, p < 0.001; mean SD Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at admission = 11.3 5.7 reduced to 6.78 4.44, at one month, p < 0.001 which were sustained at six months. Participant satisfaction with the program was high; 58 88% found the support of the nurses and 50 75% the social support of other mothers very helpful.

ConclusionsThis psycho-educational approach is an effective and acceptable early intervention for parenting difficulties and maternal mood disturbance, and contributes to a system of comprehensive mental health care for mothers of infants.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-4458-4-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Heather J Rowe - Jane RW Fisher

Source: https://link.springer.com/







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