Evaluation of FASD educational campaign for health professionals

A survey of health professionals (including Aboriginal health workers, allied health professionals, nurses working in the community, general practitioners, obstetricians, and pediatricians) in 2002 in Western Australia found that of those who cared for pregnant women, only 45% routinely asked about alcohol consumption and only 25% routinely provided pregnant women with information about the effects of alcohol on the fetus. That said, 95% thought that women of childbearing age should have access to education and information about the effects of alcohol on the fetus, 81% requested resources for themselves, and 78% requested information to give to clients.

In response, the researchers developed, produced and distributed educational resources to 3,348 health professionals. These resources included:

  • a  38-page handbook (based on the 2005 guide from Best Start in Ontario)
  • a two-sided fact sheet
  • a wallet card for health professionals to give to women
  • a desktop calendar with the message “No Alcohol in Pregnancy is the Safest Choice”

These resources were mailed in April 2007 and reached 3,224 (96.3%) of health professionals practicing in Western Australia. Six months later, the researchers surveyed 1,483 of these health professionals. They found that:

  • there was no increase in the proportion of health professionals overall who routinely asked pregnant women about alcohol use
  • there was an increase in the proportion of obstetricians who routinely asked pregnant women about alcohol use from 57.1% to 76.5% in 2007
  • overall, there was a 31% increase in the proportion of health professionals who routinely provided information on the consequences of drinking alcohol during pregnancy

The article provides a detailed description of the set-up and evaluation of the project, including strategies for dissemination and evaluation, organizations involved, and logistical details. The cost of the two-year project was estimated at $239,693 USD (2008). The educational resources developed for the project can be viewed on the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research web site.

References


France K, Henley N, Payne J, D’Antoine H, Bartu A, O’Leary C, Elliott E, Bower C. (2010). Health professionals addressing alcohol use with pregnant women in Western Australia: barriers and strategies for communication. Substance Use and Misuse, 45: 1474-1490.

Payne J, France K, Henley N, D’Antoine H, Bartu A, O’Leary C, Elliott E, Bower C, Geelhoed E. (2011). RE-AIM evaluation of the Alcohol and Pregnancy Project – educational resources to inform health professionals about prenatal alcohol exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Evaluation and the Health Professions, 34(1): 57-80. DOI: 10.1177/0163278710381261

Payne, J., Elliott, E., D’Antoine, H., O’Leary, C., Mahony, A., Haan, E., & Bower, C. (2005). Health professionals’ knowledge, practice and opinions about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and alcohol consumption in pregnancy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 29: 558-564.