Health visitors continue to provide a frontline service to children and families in the community at this time.
When stay at home measures were introduced, health visitors were struggling to get their heads around how they would deliver their service.
Here, health visitor Sue Black, who is also the clinical lead for Allerdale, tells her story…..
“Babies keep coming whatever the world throws out and so we quickly adapted and adjusted quickly to the news ways of working.
“Health Visitors come from various backgrounds, but are largely Registered General Nurses with further specialised training in fields such as Midwifery, Children’s and School Nursing, and many other fields of expertise.
“Most have a Specialist Public Health Degree and our role is to offer families with under fives support and advice on many issues including feeding, behaviour, sleep, emotional support, minor illnesses, relationship issues including domestic violence and safeguarding children. “The list is long and we signpost families to other agencies for support if we need to.
“Usually my day would be spent visiting and supporting families, running clinics, liaising with other professionals involved in children’s care and co-ordinating health issues for children on my caseload.
“So we have had to adapt during the pandemic to supporting parents and families by phone, with any essential home visits for other health issues being undertaken under strict social distancing measures.
“After a baby’s birth we will undertake an in-depth phone assessment and then do a home visit soon after.
“This is either in the house - with PPE - for no longer than 15 minutes or staying in the garden (if there is one) and facilitating the parent to weigh the baby inside and then discuss any issues afterwards maintaining a safe distance.
“My geographic patch has increased because some of our team have been called to other areas where they are needed in the NHS. We are hoping they will return fully to our service permanently soon.
“We have PPE when we need it when visiting in houses and take all precautions necessary to prevent any spread of Covid-19.
“The challenge has been using the phone for long periods and not being able to see our clients.
“As a team we quickly managed the best working practice possible and provided a video link service so we can see parents and babies at home. GP’s are already doing this and it seems to work well.
“It is always better to have face to face as you can have a higher quality assessment - reading body language and assessing mental wellbeing. You can also assess the new baby and how parents are handling the transition to parenthood which can be challenging and exhausting especially at this time as they are unable to see their families who normally may be able to offer help and support.
“We will continue to deliver a high quality service in uncharted territory but and please remember we are only a phone call away. Contact us if you need support or advice, we are still visiting.”
Contact numbers for your local service are given at first contact after your baby’s birth.
Sue’s Top Tips for New Mums
- Keep in touch with family and friends
- Try and get outside for a walk once a day if you can
- Don't be afraid to ring and ask- we are still here for you
Use online resources such as :
www.bliss.org.uk for prem/sick babies
www.cumbrialscb.com Info on early support