One in five pregnancies involve complications which are found before birth, including miscarriage, stillbirth and fetal anomaly (where there is a possible variation from expected development). These affect 150,000 families in England and Wales every year and are extremely distressing for expectant parents, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety and trauma.
Pregnancy complications are usually found or confirmed by ultrasound scan, and sonographers (the professionals who conduct pregnancy ultrasound examinations) are the first to deliver this news to patients. However, most sonographers have not been taught evidence-based skills to help them deliver difficult news. INDIRA COACH aims to improve the communication of unexpected news which is identified during pregnancy ultrasound scans. This project will adapt a Communication Coaching intervention which has been found to be successful in other areas of healthcare so that it is suitable for sonographers. It will then evaluate this intervention in practice. The intervention will draw on the team’s previous work in this area, some of which has been featured on BBC News.
INDIRA COACH has been funded by a grant from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and will be hosted by the University of Leeds. Dr Judith Johnson is the Principle Investigator and Co-Investigators include Prof Louise Bryant and Jane Arezina. the Communication Coaching consultant for the project is Prof Kathryn Pollak.