Despite Covid-19, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s Health Visitors still deliver quality care and support to families

Posted: May 14 2020

Despite Covid-19, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s Health Visitors still deliver quality care and support to families

Health visiting teams in Hertfordshire have responded to Covid-19 to support families at this difficult time. Working with our Family Support colleagues, delivering the Family Centre Service, we are dedicated to supporting the health and wellbeing of families and recognise the increased worries that parents are currently facing. Collectively, the Family Centre Service is available to provide support, advice and information to all of our families either by phone or online.

Health visitors are registered nurses and midwives, and a number of our health visitors and nursery nurse colleagues have been redeployed to support other community teams, maternity services and hospital wards.

We have a core team of health visitors, nursery nurses and administrative staff who continue to run the service and in order to do this we have changed the way we work, enabling us to continue to provide high quality care and support for families.

We continue to deliver the new birth contact, including a weight and feeding review, to all parents between 10-14 days following on from the care of the midwife. The way this is delivered has changed to keep families and health professionals safe and, as always, care is personalised and tailored to meet the needs of the individual family. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic it is still recommended that all babies and children receive their routine immunisations for protection against other serious diseases in the months and years to come; your health visitor will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how and where this is happening in Hertfordshire.

Baby clinics are an important source of support, information and reassurance for parents. We have quickly adapted to using video calls to make sure we are accessible and responsive to the needs of parents, continuing to provide personalised care whilst clinics are closed.

Where there are serious concerns about a baby’s growth or safety, we continue to see children and families in their homes. 

We are here to answer your questions and provide you with the latest information, and encourage you to call the duty Health Visitor (0300 123 7572) if you have any questions or worries about your child’s health or development. Whilst restrictions remain in place, we are speaking to all mums/carers at 6-8 weeks after your baby is born to check in with you about your emotional health and wellbeing, infant feeding, and any worries you may have. 

Routine development reviews are currently on hold and we will resume these as guided by Public Health England as soon as we are able to do so. In the meantime, please contact us if you have concerns.

As we move forward we continue to find new and different ways to work within social distancing rules. We are developing ‘Top Tips’ for parents by text on important subjects such as safe sleep, responsive feeding, maternal mental health, introduction to solids, and safety to make sure you have all that you need.

Of course, we are not the only service that has had to change the way we work. Health visiting teams continue to be in regular contact with other local services so that we are able to provide parents with up-to-date information about the support and resources available. In particular, we work in close partnership with our Family Support partners who are supporting families with a wide range of issues that matter to parents such as the introduction to solid foods, parenting, and social support.

For more information about important health-related topics for your child please visit our Children and Families page or the Family Centre Service website, where you can find reliable information about all aspects of health, wellbeing and development including feeding, emotional wellbeing, safety, managing minor illnesses, and recognising serious illness. Via the websites, parents of children with additional needs can now access the Hertfordshire Local Offer and view the new ‘resources area’ where they will find practical support and guidance regarding their child’s development.

We know this is a challenging and worrying time for families and we want parents to know that they can contact their local health visiting and Family Support teams for reliable support and advice. We will do everything we can to help.

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk