An advanced nurse practitioner who has developed a perinatal mental health service is reducing hospital admissions of mothers and mothers-to-be.

Susan McConachie.  Picture credit: Mike Wilkinson

The nurse-led model of care provides tailored direct clinical care where possible in the community with a focus not only on improving the mental health but also the general wellbeing of mothers, their children and wider family.

Daily clinics offer a range of emergency, urgent and routine appointments, and comprehensive care for women, from pre-conception all the way through to 12 months post-birth. The focus is on early intervention, prevention and patient-centred care.

Susan McConachie, who works for NHS Forth Valley, prepared the original business case, successfully argued for its important in a time of budget restraint, prepared the implementation plan and recruited the team. She produced all documentation including referral forms, procedures and protocols and information leaflets, incorporating clinical supervision, audit and service evaluation.

She says: ‘Perinatal mental health is important to ensure women with a mental illness during pregnancy or following child birth are detected and get the proper care and treatment.

‘With a focus on early intervention, my aim is to prevent what can be devastating and long-lasting effects on the mum, baby and wider family.’

Under Susan’s leadership the service has gone from strength to strength. Despite a steady increase in referrals, there has been a decrease in the number of women admitted to local and national in-patient services.

Susan McConachie.  Picture credit: Mike Wilkinson

She is a finalist in the mental health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by specialist journal Mental Health Practice, recognises innovation that improves the clinical care of service users.

Mental Health Practice editor Colin Parish was on the shortlisting panel. He says: ‘The RCNi Awards are always a great platform for mental health nurses to show how they are using their skills and ingenuity to bring about meaningful change for the service users they work with.

‘This year’s entries are strong and they demonstrate that nurses, as always, are doing their best in the challenging world or mental health care.

‘All the shortlisted nurses are touching the lives of the people they encounter and making a difference to their quality of life – they should all be immensely proud of their achievements.’

About the sponsor

Mental Health Practice

Mental Health Practice

Mental Health Practice is the most widely read journal in its field, and the only publication to cover all areas of mental health and patient care. Mental Health Practice provides a wide range of information that will enable you to develop creative and evidence-based approaches to your practice and stay informed about changes in policy and legislation. Subscribers can access a host of online resources including our archive that contains clinical and research articles dating back to 2000 and RCNi Portfolio, a simple and effective tool that helps you build, store and track your evidence for revalidation.

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