Perinatal Services BC (PSBC) develops evidence-based, clinical practice guidelines that include recommendations for care of the woman during pregnancy, labour/birth, and after birth for the mother and newborn in British Columbia. These guidelines assist the practitioner and patient in making decisions about health care practices (choices) with a goal of better patient care across health care settings. Evidence-based guidelines hold the promise of improving health care quality and outcomes yet should not be interpreted as policy. It should be recognized that one size does not fit all. Individual practitioners use both clinical expertise and the best available external evidence in day-to-day patient care; neither of which when used alone is enough.
It is expected that each health authority in BC as well as individual health care providers will implement recommendations from current provincial guidelines and consider how the local practice context and resource availability may influence the adaptation of the guideline. The adoption of a guideline, in full or in part, should be clearly set out in the institutional policy and clearly communicated to all members of the health care team. When there are variations from the provinical guideline as a result of local adaptation, these practices must be identified so outcomes can be interpreted accurately.
It is expected that BC health care providers discuss with women and parents all relevant information required to make a duly informed choice (decision). If a woman makes a care decision that is different from the recommendations, after discussion with and counseling by her care provider, then that discussion should be clearly documented in the clinical record.
Practice standards outline the expectations for practitioners and contribute to public protection. They inform care providers of their accountabilities and the public of what to expect regardless of where care is provided or received.
Practice standards are desired and achievable level of performance against which actual performance can be compared. It provides a benchmark below which performance is unacceptable. The goal is to ensure a consistent level of care throughout the province for specified practice.
Perinatal Services BC supports a philosophy of interdisciplinary education and all perinatal guidelines and standards have been developed, distributed, and implemented within a multidisciplinary context.