It is a time when the Health Visiting Team comes into its own. Southern Health has a team of Health Visitors who work to give support and advice to families in Hampshire during the early life of their child.
Southern Health was one of the first wave of 26 NHS Trusts to take a new approach to the role as an Early Implementer Site for Health Visitors.
A year later and the benefits of the new way of working with families are being seen with Health Visitors working closely with mums and dads and building close and strong relationships.
Sarah Dodd is a mum from Eastleigh: “When my baby was born it was just a whirlwind, life just changed overnight and I don’t know if anyone is really prepared for that. The team has been with me every step of the way in those early weeks giving me help and then when I found myself with Post Natal Depression. They have been an incredible support to all of us as a family and I’m so grateful that they are there.”
Health Visitors like Karen Reed from Eastleigh work closely with families to understand the support and advice that they need. Karen says:
“It’s a great job and so rewarding to be able to help families and young children when things get hard. Having said that we’re not just there to look for problems or to make any judgements, we just want to build that relationship and trust with mums and also dads because they both have such an important and demanding job in bringing up a baby.”
The Department of Health has been working with Southern Health and other Early Implementer sites to share areas of good practice so that the public are aware of the innovations that drive practice, such as a rolling programme of support for parents and carers of babies up to 1 year of age, 'Tiny Times' and also for children ages 1-3 'Toddler Times'. Other work supports breast feeding and mothers with postnatal depression.
Southern Health supports people in a number of ways including specially trained staff to help people with mental health issues particularly during and after pregnancy, with its Perinatal service. It also provides school and community nursing along with children’s physiotherapy.