So we are halfway through the CPHVA #HVweek and there have been many posts on Facebook and Twitter sharing information on health visiting around the country, with many places having organised local events in order to raise the profile on health visitors.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am passionate about informing more individuals both professionals and families about the health visitor role and that of the team we work with. To me health visitors are amazing, I know your probably thinking I’m saying this because I am one but I truly believe that health visitors do an excellent job, along with other members of the team such as nursery nurses and paediatric nurses, who work extremely hard to assist health visitors in managing sometimes very complex caseloads.
Yesterday I got to participate in a local event and engage with the community and it was great to talk to different people and raise awareness of our role. We did get some very nice feedback during our event and it was certainly worthwhile the effort it took to arrange an event at short notice. I know some will feel that health visitors have not supported them effectively for various reasons but this should now be improving with an increased number of health visitors, yes it’s still not at full capacity but it is better.
Health visitors receive referrals for all children aged 0-5 to receive a universal service, which allows for parents to engage in conversations to enable the best start in life for their child/children. However, as you can image this adds up to a huge number of antenatal contacts, birth visits, 6 week review, 1 and 2 year developmental reviews, follow ups for concerns such as breastfeeding, feeding issues, A&E attendances and not forgetting safeguarding, which can take up time attending meetings and visiting but are essential in protecting children.
Therefore, I would like to encourage you all to speak out about ‘What is a Health Visitor’ and share your stories of how your health visiting team has helped you as a parent.
Health visitors do make a lasting impression on parents, I still remember my first health visitor from 17 years ago, she helped me after having a premature baby and would go above and beyond to help parents. Fast forward 10 years later and I received a new health visitor who I have had for my second and third child and who was just as helpful but obviously very busy, by this time health visiting had changed, clinic contacts were now monthly instead of weekly and weaning had changed to 6 months from 3-4 months, yet I trusted by health visiting team to provide me with the most accurate and evidence based information.
So please look out for any local events being run by health visiting teams across the country and support us in promoting this essential role which can help so many and encourage local authorities to see the potential in health visitors.