Psychosocial support for male partners of women admitted to Mother and Baby Units

Beth Ruffell, Debbie Smith, Anja Wittkowski

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    Abstract

    Objective: This study explored what support male partners of women admitted to Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) wanted in terms of content, delivery and timing.
    Background: Although research has highlighted the need to support male partners of women admitted to specialist MBUs, little is known about the type of support men want and how they wish support to be delivered
    Methods: Ten men whose partner was admitted to a MBU in the United Kingdom or Australia participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis.
    Results: Five themes were identified: 1) A smoother journey to and from the MBU, 2) Feeling included, 3) Uncertainty about ‘what is going on’, 4) Barriers to support and 5) Facilitators of support. Men identified what practical, emotional and social support they would have found beneficial and shared ideas on best deliveries models for support.
    Conclusion: This qualitative study was the first of its kind to specifically explore the type of support male partners of MBU patients would like to be offered in terms of content, delivery and timing. Participants expressed the need to be included and involved in care decisions regarding their spouse and infant and to be offered advice from professionals. They also highlighted barriers to accessing support and offered solutions to minimise those. In terms of clinical implications, we recommend a support package, which could be developed for MBUs to improve outcomes for male partners and their family.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)378-394
    JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
    Volume38
    Issue number4
    Early online date4 Dec 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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