OASI Care Bundles have been implemented in sixteen maternity units across the UK over the past 18 months and their impact is now due to be assessed according to The Royal College of Midwives which contributed to development of these guidelines.
OASI care packages were developed in conjunction with The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in recognition of the apparently increasing problem of severe perineal tears occurring during vaginal childbirth.
What is a severe perineal tear?
A severe perineal tear can otherwise be known as a 3rd or 4th degree tear, or an obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI). Occurring during childbirth as the skin and muscle of the perineum stretch, a severe tear will cause damage to the muscles which control the bowel – the anal sphincter.
Such injuries require precise diagnosis and prompt, skilled surgery in order to try to bring about a full recovery.
Without a full and competent repair, the new mother may be left with life-long symptoms of wind and faecal incontinence.
The OASI Care Bundle
The OASI care bundle recommends the following steps:
- Inform the woman about OASI and what steps can be taken to minimise her risk
- Use of manual perineal protection where appropriate and in all assisted births
- Use of a medio-lateral episiotomy where appropriate
- Examination of the perineum after delivery and classification of injury according to the RCOG guidelines
Assessment of the effectiveness of the OASI Care Bundle will focus on the impact on OASI rates, as well as judging its levels of acceptability, feasibility and sustainability.
The impact of an undiagnosed or poorly-repaired anal sphincter injury can be life-changing.
It is to be hoped that the OASI Care Bundle will bring about significant improvements in the rate of occurrence, diagnosis and treatment.
Where an anal sphincter injury is not identified, the relevant medical professional may be considered to have acted negligently.
If the new mother develops significant, debilitating and long-term symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.
Contact us now if you are suffering from these appalling symptoms due to a failing by your medical practitioner.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.