The aim of this evidence-based practice project was to improve local practice in the treatment of breast engorgement in postnatal mothers and to ensure the treatment of engorgement in postnatal mothers is performed according to the best available evidence.Methods:
This evidence-based practice project took place in a 28-bed postnatal ward in a large metropolitan tertiary hospital. Twenty midwives and 20 in-patients were recruited for the project. The project utilized an audit and feedback design. Midwives were asked a series of questions to test their knowledge on engorgement, and mothers were asked questions relating to the breastfeeding and engorgement care they received. The project was conducted in three phases: preparation for quality audit, implementation of best practice and postimplementation audit.Results:
Comparison of Audit 1 (preimplementation) and Audit 2 (postimplementation) results shows significant improvements in all eight audit criteria. An increase of 80% was achieved for the criteria ‘midwives received formal education on engorgement’ on completion of the project. A 20% increase in ‘consistency of education regarding latch’ was reported by the mothers, and there was a 30% increase in ‘information given to mothers on prevention and signs of engorgement’. Sixty-five percent of midwives were able to correctly identify and manage engorgement, a significant improvement from 5% at baseline.Conclusion:
This evidence-based practice project successfully identified and utilized best practice in the management of breast engorgement care in mothers in our clinical setting. With effective breast engorgement interventions in place, mothers could continue to successfully breastfeed their babies. The major challenges identified during the conduct of the project included: time constraints on the midwives to attend education sessions and to educate mothers on prevention. At the completion of this project, a closer relationship was forged between the lactation consultant team and the midwives in the project setting. This increased the satisfaction and productivity of the midwives, and motivated them to deliver high-quality care, which contributed to an improvement in mother's confidence and reduction in conflicting information.