Introduction: The main objective of this study was to explore how the Quebec Perinatal Policy influenced the collaborative experiences of maternity care providers in a birthing center and its affiliated hospital.
Methods: A single case study was used. Data collection included semi-structural interviews with multidisciplinary professional and administrator participants; direct observation and field notes; documents and archives. A qualitative thematic method and QDA Miner software were used for analysis.
Results: Our investigation reveals that midwives have complete access to the hospital with which a formal agreement was signed. The completion of the Quebec Perinatal Policy is still under question because of the lack of human and financial resources. Some of the barriers to fully execution of the Perinatal Policy in the province of Quebec include the absence of strategies or willingness to open more birthing centers, the scarcity of training sites for midwives, and the limited number of schools that provide midwifery education in Quebec. There was no obvious effect of Quebec Perinatal Policy on the collaborative professional activities among midwives in the birthing center and other professionals in the affiliated hospital. Tension among maternity care professionals was fuelled by prejudice, a poor understanding of the roles and lack of trust of other professionals, poor communication, and an unwillingness to collaborate. Factors that facilitated collaboration between maternity care professionals were close communication and exchange of information between personnel, participation in multidisciplinary workshops and meetings, and proper preparation of midwifery clients for possible transfer of care.
Conclusion: Collaboration is necessary among maternity care professionals in order to better implement the perinatal care policies in Quebec. Additional strategies include clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the various maternity care providers, designing interdisciplinary programs and workshops to strengthen teamwork and to improve understanding of the scope of practice of other maternity care professionals, in order to encourage mutual respect and collaboration.