The Risk Assessment form is a tool whose value cannot be overestimated. It allows maternity care providers to easily quantify risk factors and track whether they are ongoing, temporary, low/moderate/high, and reaching a cumulative pattern or level that requires attention, corrective treatment, or consultation/referral. It also offers a handy place to document what we are doing to improve the risk factors, so that mothers who manage to lower or remove them do not needlessly suffer changes in care providers. If you find yourself wondering if a client's risk factors are indicating a transfer of care, then seeing them neatly all on paper can answer your questions.
Everyone talks about risk assessment, but I decided to do something about it. After working at a high-volume community health clinic I saw the need for expediting assessment processes and documenting risk factors quickly. When I went into private practice, the resulting form impressed liability underwriters so much when they realized that I had created the form myself, that my malpratice insurance was one of the least expensive policies in the country for any maternity care provider.
Early in pregnancy the form can be used to determine whether a client is a home birth candidate. Later in pregnancy it tracks problems as they are being corrected, and documents new risks. At the start of labor it can confirm the client's status, or alert a provider to be aware of impending need to transfer. Later it is good documentation to chart the reasons for determining that a client is still suitable for home birth, or why a transfer was chosen. Space is left next to each risk factor to put a small notation or a date, and room given below to narrate details.
A great form for rural midwives working in low-resource areas, and those offering advanced midwifery care, as well as a personal checklist for newer or less experienced midwives to use. It is also a wonderful training tool for students.
Laser-printed on 24# neon lime paper.