Obstetric Emergencies in Rural Hospitals: Challenges and Opportunities

Publication Date: September 10th, 2020
Publication Type(s): Policy Brief
Topic(s): , , ,
Author(s): Tuttle MS, Gilbertson M, Interrante JD, Kozhimannil KB

With growing numbers of rural hospitals closing obstetric units, those hospitals that keep their doors open, without regular obstetric care, may be faced with difficulties in providing needed care for local pregnant residents. One particularly pressing challenge for hospitals is the potential for facing an obstetric emergency, such as an emergency birth or other obstetric complication. As part of a longer survey to understand local capacity for emergency obstetric services in rural hospitals without obstetric units, we talked to nurse managers and emergency department administrators from rural hospitals about their concerns surrounding obstetric emergencies and what could help in preventing adverse outcomes. The purpose of this policy brief is to describe the challenges rural hospitals face in providing emergency obstetric care and to highlight resources that could help rural hospitals more safely respond to obstetric emergencies.

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