Environmental Scan of Prenatal Services for Marginalized Women in Alberta: Specialized Services

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Executive Summary

Introduction: The Marginalized Women Working Group was formed by the Maternal Newborn Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network to examine the availability and access to prenatal care services for marginalized women in Alberta. This environmental scan has been conducted to determine what prenatal services currently exist for marginalized women in Alberta and identify any gaps or opportunities that may be present. Structured phone interviews with key service providers were used to collect data; data was analyzed using a mixed methods approach.

Results: 62 individuals/programs were contacted and 49 phone interviews were completed, for an overall response rate of 79%. A wide range of different service providers from all five AHS Zones participated in the scan. Several strengths were noted in existing services: a strong provincial network of non-profit agencies and Canadian Perinatal Nutrition Programs, specialized maternity services offering tailored prenatal care, and several regional prenatal service networks. A provincial overview of findings indicated there are significant gaps and needs in the following areas:

1) addictions and mental health services,

2) affordable/supportive housing,

3) income/employment support,

4) primary care services,

5) care provider education,

6) newcomer services, and

7) transportation.

Several distinct themes were noted by location: Remote/Rural (poor access to health services), Small Urban (growing marginalized populations, limited specialized services), Large Urban (Capacity issues), and Correctional Centres (transient populations, limited time for prenatal care provision).

Looking at the data from an AHS Zone perspective revealed several unique needs and priorities: North (lack of services and isolation issues), Edmonton (need for an immigrant prenatal program), Central (need for specialized maternity services), Calgary (lack of outreach support workers); South (need for more primary care providers and supportive housing for pregnant women).

Lastly, participants identified several innovative programming examples for marginalized pregnant women in Alberta or elsewhere.

Conclusion: Findings from this environmental scan are compared with results from a recent literature review conducted by the Marginalized Women Working Group. Findings are noted to be closely correlated – particularly the need to tailor services for marginalized women and the need to address the root causes of marginalization. Preliminary recommendations for this environmental scan are: 1) Create regional prenatal networks, 2) Expand specialized maternity services, and 3) Support current services.

Click to download full report: MWWG Environmental Scan Report 2017

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