Improving Care in Women in False or Early Labor: Study

March 26, 2014

New research reveals opportunities to improve care in women in latent labor and tips to keep them happier when you send them home.

Low-income pregnant women in false or early labor want better instruction, not to be sent home, and more comfort care measures when evaluated at hospitals, according to the results of a small telephone survey published in The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing

Pertinent Points

- 41% of 100 low-income pregnant women in latent labor said they didn’t want to be sent home, according to survey results.

- Better written instruction about when to return and pain medication options at discharge for false or early labor, and offers of food and drink while being evaluated,
were identified as measures that could improve perceptions of care.

Physical pain and living too far from the hospital were the reasons most frequently given for not wanting to be discharged home after a diagnosis of latent labor, the authors reported. Overall, 41 of the 100 women surveyed said they didn’t want to be sent home.

The authors concluded that more could be done by hospitals to explain the discharge, when to return, and ways to provide comfort care measures while evaluating the women.

"A recurring response from women was their desire for very clear and specific written instructions about how to stay comfortable at home and when to return to the hospital," the authors noted. The survey findings indicated 36% of women wanted clearer instructions about when to come back.

In addition, the women surveyed suggested food and drink would have made them feel better while being evaluated at the hospital. Other examples of comfort measures include ambulation, focus and distraction techniques, and music.

Still, the survey results showed that women were satisfied with their medical care, with 97% reporting that they received enough attention before being sent home and 82% of the women saying that remaining at the hospital longer would not have improved their perception of care.

Follow-up phone calls, written instructions, and pain medication were among the efforts that could have made the women feel happier about their care, the survey found.

The study involved women presenting for care at the Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, and included researchers from Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The 12-question survey was conducted from October 12, 2011, to January 2, 2012.