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Labour Hopscotch Framework Project and Clinical Simulation To Support Training and Credentialing Project win UCD Health Affairs AHSS Grant 2021-2022

Labour Hopscotch Framework Project and Clinical Simulation To Support Training and Credentialing Project win UCD Health Affairs AHSS Grant 2021-2022

The Review Panel for the UCD Health Affairs Academic Health Science System (AHSS) Grant 2021-2022 had great pleasure in learning about many of the innovative projects that our researchers and clinicians, across all aspects of healthcare, are partaking in to link academia to the clinical services. Clinical care and patient outcomes improve in an academic setting.

Among all the 33 excellent applications we received, we would like to congratulate the following two successful projects:

The Labour Hopscotch Framework: Promoting Active Physiological Childbirth

This project is led by Dr Denise O'Brien, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems with a project team from National Maternity Hospital, National Women and Infants Health Programme, HSE, UCD School of Medicine, St Luke's General Hospital Kilkenny, Wexford General Hospital and Regional Hospital Mullingar.

The purpose of this study is to further evaluate and examine how to digitalise the Labour Hopscotch Framework (LHF) to enhance its accessibility, feasibility and acceptability within the Ireland East Hospital Group: National Maternity Hospital, Regional Hospital Mullingar, Wexford General Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny.

For more information on the Project Team and the Project Summary for this project, please click the Accordion Menu below.

Project Team

  • Dr Denise O'Brien, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems (UCD PI; Lead)
  • Sinead Thompson, National Maternity Hospital
  • Associate Professor Barbara Coughlan, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Lucille Sheehy, National Maternity Hospital
  • Mary Brosnan, National Maternity Hospital
  • Teresa McCreery, National Maternity Hospital
  • Paula Power, St Luke's General Hospital Kilkenny
  • Jean Doherty, National Maternity Hospital
  • Professor Fionnaula McAuliffe, UCD School of Medicine/National Maternity Hospital
  • Lorraine Carroll, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Mary Curtin, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Helen McLoughlin, Wexford General Hospital
  • Orla Mongan, Wexford General Hospital
  • Marie Corbett, Regional Hospital Mullingar
  • Caroline Earley, Regional Hospital Mullingar

Project Summary

Evidence shows that “physiological” births, benefit the mother and baby, reducing psychological and physical ramifications posed by medical interventions such as epidurals and caesarean sections. Despite this, rising trends in intervention rates continue in Ireland while rates of physiological birth decline. In 2020 the national rate of caesarean section in Ireland was 35.5%, and the national rate of epidural was 41.6% from a total of 55, 799 births [1]. There are considerable variations in rates reported across maternity units’ caesarean section range 28.4%-42.7%, epidural range 18.4%- 50.3%(HSE), 2020). In response to this, a community midwife from the IEHG hospital group designed and produced (Patented) a visual framework ‘Labour Hopscotch’(LHF) in 2019.

Researchers at UCD SNMHS and the National Maternity Hospital completed an evaluation of the Labour Hopscotch Framework. From a total of 809 women, 38.5% reported having epidural analgesia while using the LHF, this was lower than the hospital epidural rate of 52%. Furthermore 77% had a physiological birth, 9% had a caesarean birth which was lower than the hospital rate of 29%. In addition, all key stakeholders have reported that implementing the LHF has resulted in positive change: women are more initiative-taking during childbirth, using steps of the LHF with coaching from their birth partner or midwives, enhancing confidence and nurturing their relationships. In 2020, the Department of Health, supported a national rollout of the LHF through the National Women’s Infant Programme.

The current project  led by Dr Denise O’Brien SNMHS  will now build on this initial collaboration and develop greater networks within UCD, the IEHG, and community care services. The purpose of this study is to further evaluate and examine how to digitalise the LHF to enhance its accessibility, feasibility and acceptability within the Ireland East Hospital Group: National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Regional Hospital Mullingar (RHM), Wexford General Hospital (WGH) and St Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny (SLGHK). As we move towards a new model of integrated care within maternity services, the goal for ‘living well’ requires behavioural change in many lifestyle choices. Collaborative partnerships between academics, clinicians, and community care, affords us the opportunity to work together with women/ families to support self-management to improve public health. The project, based on an imaginative idea from midwifery practise, is solution focused and influences change. Since its inception, the LHF has been integrated as a complementary approach in the National Maternity Hospital, supporting active management of Labour, maternal confidence around decision-making, contribution to cultural shifts in approaches to childbirth. The project supports translation of evidence into practice across the IEHG maternity services.

Clinical Simulation to Support Training & Credentialing in Clinical Handover in an AHSS

This project is led Associate Professor Suzanne Donnelly, UCD School of Medicine, and brings together an education leadership team from UCD Medicine and IEHG with expertise and extensive experience in resource design, delivery and evaluation, including clinical simulation.

This project is to develop and deliver an educational resource for training in the critical professional competence of clinical handover. The overarching aim of this project is to credential all students in the 2023 UCD Medicine graduating class and incoming interns to the UCD Intern training network in clinical handover.

For more information on the Project Team and the Project Summary for this project, please click the Accordion Menu below.

Project Team

  • Associate Professor Suzanne Donnelly, UCD School of Medicine (UCD PI; Lead)
  • Dr Lynn Redahan, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital
  • Dr Ger O'Connor, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital/Ireland East Hospital Group
  • Dr Tomás Breslin, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital/Ireland East Hospital Group
  • Adam Tattersall, UCD School of Medicine

Project Summary

The project brings together an education leadership team from UCD Medicine and IEHG with expertise and extensive experience in resource design, delivery and evaluation, including clinical simulation.

We came together as a project team to develop and deliver an educational resource for training in the critical professional competence of clinical handover. Clinical handover- the transfer of professional responsibility and accountability for some or all aspects of care for a patient- occurs at a myriad of points in patient care in our AHSS daily, and the relationship between quality clinical handover and patient safety is well established in the international literature.

Funding awarded to this project will be used to develop an e-learning clinical simulation resource to train new entrants to medical practice (interns and arriving International Medical Graduates, IMGs) in the first instance. The educational resource will be delivered as a UCD Medicine Micro-Credential- ‘proof of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a short learning experience’- for healthcare professionals. This project is, of necessity, focussed on a single cohort of staff with similar training needs, however the concept and supporting educational framework can be extended system-wide to support all healthcare professions and the many transitions of care in an AHSS.  

The overarching aim of this project is to credential all students in the 2023 UCD Medicine graduating class and incoming interns to the UCD Intern training network in clinical handover. We plan to follow this with a roll out to IEHG AHSS new entrants to medical practice  in 2023/24. We are confident that this exciting collaborative project between UCD School of Medicine and IEHG Post Graduate Educational leads can, in due course,  underpin the ambitious vision to micro-credential all IEHG AHSS clinical staff in clinical handover leading to improved quality and safety of patient care at care transitions

‘We thank the co-chair Professor Jason Last, the Grant Review Panel (Professor Peter Doran, Professor Simon More, Professor Sue Rackard, Associate Professor Clare Corish and Grainne Keane), and the Project Manager (Xuefang Alterman) for all their hard work, and we thank all 33 applicants across the IEHG Hospitals, CHOs and multiple Schools at UCD for their interest and efforts. We welcome projects that forge collaboration between the IEHG, its affiliated CHOs, and UCD CHAS. It supports health and science-related research or educational/innovation projects that clearly will enhance the concept of an AHSS and that will align with key College/School research and/or education strategic objectives.’ said Professor Tim Lynch, Vice Principal for Health Affairs, UCD, and Chief Academic Officer, Ireland East Hospital Group.

‘We plan to make this grant available again in 2023 and hope to increase the number of grants in view of the huge interest this year.’ said Professor Tim Lynch.

UCD Health Affairs

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T: +353 1 716 3481 | E: health.affairs@ucd.ie