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Health visiting teams – supporting children and families through the pandemic and beyond

16th April 2021

A Voices blog by Wendy Nicholson MBE, Deputy Chief Nurse and Professor Jamie Waterall, Deputy Chief Nurse, both from the Chief Nurse, Maternity & Early Years Directorate at Public Health England, on the bite-sized resources available to support health visiting within the All Our Health e-learning programme.


 

During the pandemic health visiting teams have continued to support children and families, whilst initially the focus was very much on vulnerable adults and the elderly, data and evidence indicated the significant impact the pandemic was having on children and families.

Families have faced challenges including limited access to services, increased family stress, financial difficulties, isolation and separation from the wider family support.

Government guidelines meant services had to change the way they supported families – health vising services, school nurses and family nurses rose to the challenge finding different and innovative ways to ensure that families were supported.

Health visiting services have used their expertise and public health skills to seek out health needs, support the most vulnerable families and to continue to address inequalities.  As leaders of the Healthy Child Programme, health visitors have continued to support partners to focus on families and helped parents to navigate their way through the challenges of COVID-19.

All Our Health e-learning programme

To support health visiting teams, Public Health England has worked with Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) to develop a range of bite-sized sessions within the All Our Health e-learning programme, focused on different life stages and priority public health issues. During the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in health and care professionals using these free and trusted resources, which will be useful to support learning and development, together with a deeper understanding of public health.

There are several resources in the programme which will be of specific interest to health visiting teams, including the Best Start in Life session which outlines some of the evidence-based approaches which will be useful when supporting families. The Speech, Language and Communication and Childhood Obesity sessions are also useful resources that can be accessed free and all sessions feature a brief knowledge check, plus lots of useful links to further advice and guidance to support practice. This learning can also be used to support colleagues’ continued professional development and three-yearly revalidation process.

These e-learning resources of specific interest to health visitors are collated and available on the iHV website – here

HEE eLFH Best Start in Life

Interactive Townscapes on our All Our Health

There are also three interactive townscapes hosted on our All Our Health platform which signpost health and care professionals to trusted resources. Health visiting teams may find the smoking in pregnancy and breastfeeding townscapes particularly useful, as these resources demonstrate a place-based approach and outline interventions which need to be scaled if we are to make a difference in preventing illness, protecting health, and promoting the wellbeing of children and families.

All Our Health Breastfeeding Townscape

Build back better and fairer

As we start to ‘build back better and fairer’ from the pandemic, the All Our Health resources will play an important role in supporting all health and care professionals to enhance their focus on preventing illness, protecting health, and promoting wellbeing. These resources will support us all to challenge our practice and systems to accelerate the progress needed in addressing unacceptable health inequalities, which have been amplified by the pandemic. Please do take the time to share the resources within your team, with partners and with students.

All Our Health covers a range of public health issues including obesity, mental health, alcohol, screening and immunisations. They aim to improve health and care professionals’ knowledge, confidence and skills in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing. Join thousands of health and care professionals who are using these resources by visiting: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/all-our-health/

Wendy Nicholson MBE, Deputy Chief Nurse at Chief Nurse, Maternity & Early Years Directorate – Public Health England

 

Professor Jamie Waterall, Deputy Chief Nurse at Chief Nurse, Maternity & Early Years Directorate – Public Health England