Interprofessional provider attitudes toward the initiation of epidural analgesia in the laboring patient: are we all on the same page?

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Abstract

Background: The timing of initiation of neuraxial labor analgesia should ultimately depend on patient preference although obstetricians, anesthesiologists and nurses may influence decision-making. We hypothesized that provider groups would have similar attitudes toward the timing of epidural placement, but some identifiable differences could be used to improve understanding and communication among providers. Methods: Anesthesiologists, nurses and obstetricians completed a survey assessing their knowledge and attitudes on the timing of epidural placement in specified clinical circumstances. Results: Anesthesiologists (100%) and nurses (86.2%) reported being more familiar with epidural management than obstetricians (43.3%, P <0.01). The willingness of providers to advocate epidural placement based on the magnitude of cervical dilation was similar, although at 10 cm dilatation obstetricians (73.3%) were significantly more likely to advocate neuraxial block compared to both nurses (27.6%, P <0.01) and anesthesiologists (36.7%, P <0.01). The impact of patient factors and clinical circumstances on the timing of neuraxial block placement showed significant differences among provider groups in five of 24 areas assessed, including patient desire for an epidural, primigravid patients without membrane rupture, oxytocin infusion initiated, labor epidural in a previous pregnancy, and a difficult airway. Conclusions: There were differences between providers in factors that may impact the timing of epidural placement and in their self-perceived familiarity with epidural management. These present an opportunity for furthering interprofessional education and collaboration.

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Lipps, J., Lawrence, A., Palettas, M., Small, R. H., Soma, L., & Coffman, J. C. (2019). Interprofessional provider attitudes toward the initiation of epidural analgesia in the laboring patient: are we all on the same page? International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, 37, 57–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijoa.2018.08.007

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