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New toolkit for measuring outcomes and impact in health visiting practice

29th September 2016

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce the publication of a toolkit during #HVweek to support the measurement of outcomes in health visiting – it aims to support health visitor service leads in developing outcome measures for their local health visiting service.

There is a growing body of evidence which demonstrates that health visitors can have a positive outcome on health improvement (Cowley et al, 2013).

Health visitors are keen to show the impact of their work in early intervention, health promotion, and the prevention of ill health in children and families.  But how can this impact be measured?  What outcomes are needed?

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE., Executive Director, iHV, said:

“Since the completion of the Department of Health’s Health Visitor implementation plan ‘A Call to Action’ to transform health visiting services, there has been an increased emphasis on the need to measure the impact and effectiveness of the transformed health visiting services in England.”

Health visiting services collect data for key performance indicators as described in the National Health Visiting Core Service Specification (NHS England, 2014). These indicators mainly focus on the number of core contacts achieved, but this does not accurately reflect the depth and breadth of health visiting activity, nor does it describe the outcomes for children and families.

Dr Adams continued:

“There is now renewed pressure to demonstrate outcomes of health visiting services with the recent transfer from NHS to Local Authority Commissioning.  Local commissioners are developing their understanding of the health visitor role and how the service contributes to local and national public health outcomes, the local early years strategy and broader social, economic and fiscal outcomes.  Health visitors must therefore develop and gather information which is relevant to their practice and which captures the impact of health visiting interventions on health outcomes.”

This new toolkit, written by Ruth Hudson, Professional Officer, iHV, is broken down into six sections to explore both outcomes and evaluation in health visiting. The Practical Guide forms the introduction and background, followed by 5 sections for readers who may prefer to concentrate on a specific topic or aspect of evaluation:

  • Outcomes and Evaluation in Health Visiting: A Practical Guide
    1. Section 1: Research and Outcomes for Children and Families
    2. Section 2: Evaluation Guides and Models for use in practice
    3. Section 3: National Outcomes Frameworks, Tools and Resources
    4. Section 4: Outcomes in Health Visiting Practice
    5. Section 5: Presenting Information on Outcomes: Using Case Studies and Scale Measures in Practice