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Title: The diffusion of joint mother and baby psychiatric hospital admissions in the UK : an historical analysis
Author: Robertson, Karen E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 5747
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2012
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Background: A key innovation in the provision of inpatient services to facilitate the care and treatment of women with severe postnatal mental illness was the introduction of joint mother and baby psychiatric hospitalisations, where both the mother and baby are admitted to hospital together. This study examined the history of the practice of joint mother and baby admissions across the UK and critically explored the processes relevant to the diffusion of joint admissions and patterns of service development to identify the possible and probable causes for significant differences in service provision across the United Kingdom (UK). Aims: The study examined the documented history of the development of practice of joint mother and baby psychiatric hospital admissions across the UK and in doing so, a) Identified the pattern of service and practice development and the likely reasons for the pattern of the chronology. b) Identified the processes involved in the diffusion of joint mother and baby admissions in the UK, and explored why the practice was sustained (or not). c) Contributed new information to the continued development of innovation diffusion theory and research, and its application to health care service and practice development. Methods: A historical method was used in the study and was reported through the use of historical narrative and analysis. Data was collated from primary and secondary sources of documented evidence which was used to inform the history of joint mother and baby admissions across the UK. Data was analysed using the theoretical framework of diffusion of innovation (Rogers, 2003). Findings: Two versions of the same innovation were identified: joint admissions to side rooms of general adult psychiatric wards or annexed areas of the wards and joint admissions to specialist mother and baby units. Neither version of the practice followed the normal S-curve pattern of adoption in terms of frequency and rate of adoption. After a period of approximately 63 years there are 24 facilities for the provision of joint admissions in the NHS in the UK. The main influencers to the adoption of the practice was perception of risk, social networks internal and external to the NHS, the presence of clinical and political champions to drive the adoption and implementation of the innovation and policy entrepreneurship by clinicians working in the clinical field of perinatal mental health. The development of specific policy, guidelines and in Scotland, legislation, has resulted in a move during the last decade from joint admissions being diffused naturally to side room admissions being actively withdrawn and specialist psychiatric mother and baby units actively being disseminated. There is strong evidence that the diffusion process for specialist mother and baby units is still in motion at the time of reporting. Conclusion: Two competing versions of the same innovation had unusual patterns of diffusion. The influencers identified as relevant to the diffusion patterns of each version of the innovation were essentially the same influencers but they were used in different ways to affect change: rejection of one version of the innovation in favour of adoption of the other. The main influencers on the diffusion of joint admissions changed over the time line of the adoption pattern. Barriers to diffusion included the absence of evidence of effectiveness, the absence of economic evaluation, the position in service divisions of perinatal mental health as a field of practice and the absence of succession planning across professional groups. Recommendations are made for future research.
Supervisor: Parkes, Tessa; Paterson, Brodie; Paley, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Nurs.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Diffusion of innovation ; mother and baby psychiatric hospital admissions ; UK health policy ; historical analysis ; Hospitals Admission and discharge ; Mental health services ; Psychiatric hospital care