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Improving Pertussis Education for Postpartum Women and their Family Members

Abstract Background:The purpose of this DNP project was to synthesize evidenced based-research related to Tdap vaccination against pertussis for family members of pregnant and postpartum women in order to provide protection from pertussis for newborn infants through cocooning. Cocooning refers to the vaccination of family members and caregivers in close contact with the infant to protect the infant by lowering risk of acquiring pertussis from close contact through an infected family member. Methods: This project utilized the Health Belief Model to understand perceptions and predict behaviors related to the pertussis vaccination of family members who may come in contact with unvaccinated infants. A toolkit was provided to the nursing staff at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, including an educational handout for nurses to use to educate family members of newly postpartum women. The goal was to improve Tdap vaccination rates among family members to protect newborn infants from acquiring pertussis. Results: Thirty-six nursing staff participated in the educational sessions (five in clinic, 36 from the birth center). The majority of the respondents were Registered Nurses (n = 32) and some were Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) (n = 4). Five areas were addressed through pre and post intervention surveys that assessed the following: Knowledge of pertussis or whooping cough; Knowledge about the term “protection through cocooning”; Likelihood of using an educational tool/handout for patients and families; Likelihood that an educational tool will be useful to patients; and Likelihood for an educational tool to increase rates of pertussis vaccinations. Overall, there was a statistically significant result in the likelihood that the nurses would use an educational tool or handout to educate their patient and their family members about pertussis (p < .001). The mean score of nurses’ likelihood that an educational tool will be useful to patients after to receiving the educational session was 4.78 (SD = 0.42). This represented a statistically significant difference in the mean pre- and post-education scores for the likelihood that an educational tool will be useful to patients. Conclusions: Nurses are the forefront of patient care and nursing education in an acute setting. They are trusted and reliable sources for healthcare information and education. Through this study we have examined the likelihood to use a tool or handout after an educational session. Nurses on this unit have expressed that after an educational session, they were more knowledgeable of the subject matter and the information would be useful to patients to improve pertussis education for pregnant women and their family members.