Page updated 25.10.2016

Based on experiences, families prefer integrated maternity and child health clinics

Lecturer Miia Tuominen from TUAS defended her doctoral dissertation on 1 October 2016. Her new doctoral research in the field of Public Health Science compares integrated maternity and child health clinics with a separate maternity clinic and child health clinic model.

The results of the first comparison of the health clinics demonstrated that families may benefit more from an integrated health clinic model.

Both health clinic models can be recommended in the production of maternity health clinic services. However, according to the study, the relational continuity of care enabled by the integrated maternity clinic and child health clinic model promotes the support for parenthood. The experiences of parents supported the use of this model.

“The relational continuity of care was beneficial e.g. for parents with depressive symptoms, as it protected the parents' parenting self-efficacy", Miia Tuominen says.

Development of maternity and child health clinics

The aim of the child and family services’ change programme within the social and health care reform is to strengthen the well-being and resources of children, youths and families with preventative services. At the same time, support for parenthood is reinforced.

Along with the reform, freedom of choice may increase and the amount of private health clinics may increase. In a competitive situation, the expectations and decisions of parents impact on the choice.

"The impact and costs of different health clinic models should be compared at the national level. It would become possible if in the future the information on the maternity and child health clinic model was registered in the Avohilmo register”, says Tuominen.

The maternity and child health clinic of the future could operate in a client-oriented manner, in a multiprofessional team and in cooperation between public health nurses, doctors and other professionals within the field of social and health care.

“Also in the development of the education, the educational needs of different professional groups should be taken into account as a unifying, multidisciplinary entity."

From a UAS Master’s degree to doctoral studies

Tuominen has previously completed a Master’s degree at TUAS. Working in research and development projects was an essential part of the education. Research on maternity and child health clinics also has its origins in the project activities of Master's degree studies at universities of applied sciences.

“The development of maternity and child health clinics started in 2006 as a cooperation between the social and health care department and TUAS’ former faculty of Health Care. Back then, renewed family training and multiprofessional development were at the centre of the development work”, says Head of Education and Research Pia Ahonen.