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High risk pregnancy support service

Harrison’s Little Wings have initiated a number of projects designed to support families who have received a poor or fatal diagnosis in their pregnancy.

These projects include:

Advocacy for affected mothers 

Melanie McKenzie, Director and Founder of Harrison’s Little Wings, is passionate about advocating on behalf of the families that they care for. Often due to the vulnerability of the mothers, Health Professionals within the health system tend to leave mothers of the maternity consultation process to avoid distress.    

Melanie is extremely proactive in this area and can be the voice of women who receive a poor or fatal diagnosis, or those that have a health condition that puts them or baby’s life at risk.  This also extends to advocating on behalf of bereaved families.  

Precious Pregnancy Emergency Toiletry Packs 

Often women with extreme risk pregnancy go to an appointment and then due to unforeseen complications, are admitted unexpectedly into hospital. Many women live outside of tertiary hospitals’ catchment areas, therefore do not live close enough to have a friend or family bring them toiletries. 

Maternal Fetal Medicine Continuity of Care Model Project 

Melanie is in conversation with Queensland Health and the Tertiary Hospital Maternal Fetal Medicine units to implement a continuity of care model, where one key care provider cares for each mother.   This model has resulted in improved outcomes for the baby and mother’s mental health, as mum feels individually supported.  For mothers with extreme risk pregnancy, having that one care provider giving compassionate support can make a very positive impact, regardless of the outcome of their pregnancy. 

Logan Maternity Community Hub Project 

The Logan Maternity Community Hub project developed a Continuity of Midwifery care that is located out in the community. 

It was created to minimise isolation and to maintain a non clinical environment. Pregnancy is not an illness. The community hubs also helps with issues such as car parking.  All hubs are located in their own community rather then travelling to a hospital in a clinical environment. 

This format encourages women to meet other women and families in their local area and have access to support services within Community Centres to enable them to access other services such as playgroup. 

Melanie McKenzie and Andrea World worked with key maternity stakeholders in Logan through the Logan Together initiative over two years from the very first consultation forum to the opening of the hubs in Logan. They both still remain heavily involved in the oversight committee on this project, to ensure it maintains the integrity of the original model designed. Visit the Facebook Page.

20 Week Morphology Scan Project

Mater Research teamMelanie believes that there is a lack of awareness and understanding about the importance of the 20-week morphology scan, which is also often referred to as the gender reveal scan. There are also barriers such as costs and lack of bulk billing for some families.

Many women do not understand that this scan also looks at, but is not limited to the baby’s body organs, such as the heart, growth of baby and so much more.   <

Detecting any abnormalities at this scan is vital to prepare for the birth to give the baby the best possible chance of support and in some sad cases, survival.  For instance, if there is likelihood that the baby will require specialist cardiology treatment, the birth will need to happen in a hospital with these facilities.

In many of pregnancies with poor or fatal diagnosis, the signs can be recognised at this scan, which provides mothers and their families with more time to prepare for a potentially difficult outcome.

Melanie is very excited that the Mater Research team is taking this project on as a research project. This has been passed through Ethics and Consultation with the community and will commence soon. 

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