Health visitors are registered nurses/midwives who have additional training in community public health nursing. They provide a professional public health service based on best evidence of what works for individuals, families, groups and communities; enhancing health and reducing health inequalities through a proactive, universal service for all children 0-5 years and for vulnerable populations targeted according to need. Health visiting is a proactive, universal service that provides a platform from which to reach out to individuals and vulnerable groups, taking into account their different dynamics and needs, and reducing inequalities in health. Pre-school children and their families are a key focus.
How does it work?
Health visitors work with parents who have new babies, offering support and informed advice from the ante-natal period until the child starts school at 5 years. They may work in teams or have sole responsibility for a caseload derived from the local area or a general practice list; they are usually based in children’s centres, surgeries, community or health centres. Health visitors visit parents through a minimum of 5 universal home visits from late pregnancy through to a developmental assessment at 2 years. These visits are usually in the home, but the health visitor may invite you to join groups, clinics and networks run by the health visiting team or colleagues who work with them such as: nursery nurses, children centre staff, voluntary organisations or community mothers.
Families from all walks of life may need support for specific issues that affect their children’s health and development, so the actual service provided to each particular family will vary according to a personalised assessment of their own needs and evidence of what will work for them.
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