Long-acting reversible contraceptives — intrauterine devices and birth control implants — are the most effective methods to prevent pregnancy. But too many people who want to choose LARC as their form of birth control are unable to get it in a timely manner because community health clinic staff is untrained or unprepared to perform an insertion.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. At a Wednesday morning session on “Expanding LARC Access and Training the Community Health Workforce,” reproductive health experts shared their tools for success in preparing community health clinic staff to stock, educate about and insert IUDs and implants. The best part: Most of the tools for training are low-cost or free and available online.
Stefanie Boltz, of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, shared many of the tools that can be used in trainings or classroom settings. Online resources like Papaya Workshop (a very interesting way to practice a variety of reproductive health services — on fruit!), the Global Library of Women’s Health, Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University) and Innovating Education in Reproductive Health all offer free videos to use as teaching tools for people learning to insert the devices. In particular, Innovating Education in Reproductive Health, a project of the Bixby Center, is open source, meaning anyone can use the website and download its tools without a login, Boltz told attendees. Some of the trainings include information on health disparities, she noted, while an important resource has been the site’s contraceptive counseling training, which teaches clinic staff to improve care through listening to patients’ needs.
Of course, training is only part of the solution. Aisha Mays, a family physician and clinical researcher at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, part of University of California-San Francisco, said supervising people as they practice inserting LARC helps clinic staff gain confidence in their skills, which then allows them to offer the full spectrum of reproductive health options more regularly. Where Planned Parenthood clinics are able to offer same-day insertion to 95 percent of patients seeking LARC, community health clinics were only able to offer same-day insertion to about a third of those asking for it. However, after going through six training sessions and supervised practice, those numbers increased dramatically.
Mays is also a trainer with Upstream USA, an organization that goes into community health clinic settings to train staff on LARC stocking, billing, education and insertion. It’s a pretty cool organization.
Ready to join #TeamIUD (or Team Implant)? Check out some of these training tools to see how they might help your clinic offer patients the care they need!