To improve postpartum outcomes and combat racial disparities, multiple teams across Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital (CCH) joined forces to form a cross-team task force that is already seeing positive results, according to a Penn Medicine news release. Additionally, to ensure long-term success, the initiative seeks to build trust with the Latina population.

After evaluating postpartum complication rates from July 2020 through June 2021, the Maternal Child Health care team at CCH found concerning rates of postpartum hemorrhage and postpartum infection in Latinas, who make up about 20% of its patients.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate is among the highest of any developed country and maternal health outcomes are worse for people of color.

“The clinical team felt that there was a gap in how we were providing care, so we went to the data to see if that held true,” said Katherine Costantini, a co-leader of the initiative, in the news release.

After analyzing data and discussing potential reasons for disparities in postpartum care, the team found that language barriers, access to care, culture and possible biases contributed to disparities.

“From my perspective, when you’re doing health equity work, you really need to meet patients where they are,” Costantini said. “So that was the main push for us, to meet the patients out in the community and on a more personal level in the hospital.”

To build trust between health care providers and Latina patients, the Maternal Child Health team partnered with the Patient Family and Advisory Council to conduct hospital- and community-based interviews with patients, Penn Medicine reports.

Utilizing patients’ feedback, the team adjusted practices to improve care for Latina mothers, including expanding weekday in-person Spanish interpreter services, introducing weekend hours and creating an on-call position for interpreters.

After implementing these changes throughout the last two years, the Maternal Child Health team reported a decrease in postpartum complication rates in Latina patients at CCH from 4.9% to 2%.

To learn more, click #Pregnancy. There, you’ll find headlines such as “Maternal Mortality Among Latinas Spikes,” “Screening for Pregnancy Anxiety May Help Reduce Early Births” and “Depression in New Moms Adversely Affects the Health of Babies and Other Family Members.”