At 23 weeks pregnant, Jocelyn Coates was advised to stop working and stay at home.
She had preeclampsia, a serious condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure that can be dangerous for both mother and baby. If not addressed, it can damage the mother’s kidney, liver and brain, lead to seizures, and cause low birth weight or pre-term birth.
But thanks to the new Prenatal Home Care program offered in Saskatoon, Coates was able to be monitored closely at home, instead of being admitted to hospital months ahead of her due date.
“My doctor referred us to the Prenatal Home Care program when I was taken off work,” said Coates. “Having home care nurses visit me in the comfort of my home took away the stress of having to travel to appointments for the close monitoring that was required. Knowing they were in contact with my doctor also helped relieve a lot of the anxiety I was feeling. It provided peace of mind and reassurance.”
It also meant she didn’t have to be hospitalized before she was induced at 37 weeks due to high blood pressure.
“The Prenatal Home Care nurses were very informative, especially in those last couple of weeks leading up to my induction,” said Coates, who gave birth to a healthy boy named Parker on June 2, 2018.
“I cannot say enough how positive this experience was for me as a first-time mom with a high-stress pregnancy and health complications,” said a smiling Coates, her baby tucked snuggly in her arms. “This service was invaluable to my health and the health of my baby. I will be forever grateful to the nurses who visited my home and took such good care of us.”
Jocelyn Coates with her husband and baby Parker
December 2018 marked the first-year anniversary of the High-Risk Prenatal Home Care Program that Coates was able to access. The program was added to Maternal Services in Saskatoon in December 2017. It ensures that women experiencing complex medical conditions in pregnancy – who meet specific criteria and are able to stay in Saskatoon – can access daily home care from an experienced prenatal registered nurse (RN), as opposed to being admitted to hospital for observation and treatment.
“The program brings together experts in obstetrical care, including physicians and registered nurses,” said Dr. Jocelyne Martel, an obstetrician at Royal University Hospital. “The skill set of the nurses allows them to work autonomously to provide a safe hospital alternative for high-risk women.”
“As a labour and delivery nurse for over 30 years, I have seen a great need for this program and I’m excited that it’s now a reality,” said Brenda Penner, RN and Prenatal Home Care nurse. “Being able to see women in their home environment allows me to develop a rapport with them and to provide much needed education on a deeper level because of the time I’m able to spend with them. It’s so rewarding to see how women relax, gain confidence and an improved understanding of their condition within their own home or a hotel in the city as opposed to the hospital.”
The prenatal home care available to women includes blood pressure monitoring, a maternal health assessment and an assessment of the unborn baby’s health, as well as extensive education related to each woman’s specific condition.
“The Prenatal Home Care program was amazing,” said Meaghan Mazzei, another woman and mother who benefited from the service this past year. “It allowed me to obtain the prenatal care I required from the comfort of my own home, while still being able to care for my toddler. If I had any questions or concerns, there was a nurse just a quick text message or phone call away. Both me and my baby cannot thank the nurses enough for the wonderful prenatal care we received.”
Meaghan Mazzei with her daughter Adriana, born on April 7, 2018