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RCN Foundation funds iHV programme to support the emotional wellbeing of health visitors

5th October 2020

The RCN Foundation has awarded £48,300 to the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) to develop a programme to promote emotional wellbeing at work for small groups of health visitors (HV) working in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The work of HVs has been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways which create additional work-related stress. HVs are seeing significant increases to the numbers of children and families they are responsible for and much of their work focuses on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families in our communities; those who have been hardest hit by the current pandemic. HVs describe feeling anxious and unsettled by the rapid pace of change, loss of control, sense of professional self-worth, and the wider impact of COVID-19 on many aspects of their practice.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“The past six months have been some of the most challenging in memory for health visitors. We are thrilled to now be able to offer them some direct virtual support through this exciting programme. On theirs, and our behalf, we would like to extend our warmest thanks to the RCN Foundation for their support to make this happen.”

This pilot project seeks to address how best to support health visitors adapt to the demands and pressures they are facing as a result of the pandemic, whilst also supporting their mental health and wellbeing and trying to reduce the impact of work-related stress, so that they can continue to support families effectively.

Twelve organisations and sixty practitioners will take part in the pilot programme which begins in October 2020, with findings expected in early 2021.

Deepa Korea, RCN Foundation Director, commented:

“The RCN Foundation is delighted to have awarded funding to this important pilot programme, which will support the emotional wellbeing of health visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a well-evidenced link between staff wellbeing and quality of care delivery and so it is vitally important that we look at ways in which we can continue to support the nursing community in these challenging times, as they support families and communities across the UK.”

The project forms part of the RCN Foundation’s programme of work and support in response to COVID-19 which has, to date, supported more than 2,800 nursing and midwifery staff.