Development and evaluation of training resources to prepare health professionals for counselling pregnant women about non-invasive prenatal testing for Down syndrome: A mixed methods study

Kerry Oxenford, Rebecca Daley, Celine Lewis, Melissa Hill*, Lyn S. Chitty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The availability of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for aneuploidies is expanding rapidly throughout the world. Training health professionals to offer NIPT in a way that supports informed choice is essential for implementation. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a training package for health professionals to support the introduction of NIPT into clinical practice. Methods: Training on NIPT was offered to health professionals, primarily midwives, involved in Down syndrome screening and testing in eight hospitals located in England and Scotland as part of a research study evaluating the implementation of NIPT in the UK National Health Service. Training was evaluated using a mixed methods approach that included quantitative questionnaires at three time points and post-training qualitative interviews. The questionnaires measured confidence, self-perceived knowledge and actual knowledge about NIPT for Down syndrome. Interviews explored opinions about the training and experiences of offering NIPT. Results: The training provided to the health professionals was found to positively impact on their confidence in discussing NIPT with women in their clinic, and both their perceived and actual knowledge and understanding of NIPT was improved. Knowledge remained weak in four areas; cell-free fetal DNA levels increase with gestation; turnaround time for NIPT results; cell-free fetal DNA is placental in origin; and NIPT false positive rate. Conclusions: Training materials, including a lesson plan, PowerPoint presentation and written factsheet on NIPT, have been developed and evaluated for use in educating midwives and supporting the introduction of NIPT. Implementation of training should include a greater focus on the areas where knowledge remained low. Some groups of midwives will need additional training or support to optimise their confidence in discussing NIPT with women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Down syndrome
  • Education
  • Health professionals
  • Midwives
  • Non-invasive prenatal testing
  • Training

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