How to complete a safe and effective contraceptive consultation
The contraceptive consultation should focus on the provision of safe, effective contraception that suits the individual's requirements. It is important to take a comprehensive medical and drug history to ensure that the chosen method is safe for the individual at both initiation and review consultations. A review consultation is a good opportunity to discuss other – often more effective – methods of contraception. Remote contraceptive consultations are suitable for many patients, as long as the same high standards of care are provided as they would be in a face-to-face consultation. Nurses offering contraceptive services should ensure they keep up to date with the latest clinical guidance.
Contraceptive consultations are a key part of providing safe and effective contraceptive care. The Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) regularly updates and develops national UK clinical guidelines relating to contraception. These guidelines contain suggested minimum criteria for assessment and discussion during contraceptive consultations.
Initiation and review consultations for contraception offer an opportunity to discuss highly effective long acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARC), as well as ensuring the chosen contraceptive method will be safe and effective for the individual.
This article will highlight what is important to address in these consultations and how this can be achieved effectively in general practice. Remote consultations, a key part of contraceptive care since COVID-19, are also discussed.
The FSRH have produced a service standard for record keeping in sexual and reproductive healthcare consultations (FSRH, 2019a). It recommends clear documentation of clinical history, assessment, examination (if required), investigation performed, outcome of consultation and management plan. There is also a helpful ‘record keeping checklist’ for each method of contraception, which can be used or adapted by services to guide clinicians in ensuring all important aspects of the UK medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (UKMEC) are assessed.
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