Health visitors are here to give children the best possible start in life, by supporting their parents to make decisions that affect their future health - physical, emotional and intellectual. We work with families before babies are even born, to identify potential problems and improve young children's experience of health care, as well as their mum's experience of maternity care. When a baby is born we support their parents with weaning, sleeping and adjusting to life as parents.
Health Visitors lead on the Healthy Child Programme (0-5) and support preschool-aged children to achieve the best possible health outcomes. The Healthy Child Programme is available to all children (aged 0-5) and aims to ensure that every child gets the good start they need to lay the foundations of a healthy life.
A really important part of our job is identifying and assessing the health needs or additional needs of children early, so we can make sure they have all the support they need early. This includes signposting families to universal services and referring children to targeted and specialist services for diagnosis, treatment and care.
We also work hard to build relationships with families and support them to access the guidance and services available within their communities. We know and are known to lots of other services and can help bridge the gaps at a time parents have a lot to think about. We can signpost, refer or provide services like:
- Promotion of social and emotional development
However, we also work with families on an on-going basis where a child has complex needs or is particularly vulnerable.
Full details of the health visiting service.
The outcomes we work towards vary with the individual families we work with, but might include:
- The quick, effective assessment of additional needs
- Early and effective intervention to minimise difficulties
- Screening for underlying health conditions
- Making sure children are immunised against certain illnesses
- Promotion of healthy lifestyles and positive lifestyle choices for whole families
We are a universal service, which means we are here to support all young people.
We will work with any young person referred to us by a health professional, or who comes to us themselves with a problem or challenge they would like to talk about.
We work with their mum's through pregnancy, so most families will be signposted to our service as part of their maternity care.
We work with all children in Wiltshire until they are 5 years old, but most children will be transferred into the care of their school nurse before this point.
Our team work with children and their families in a range of settings across Wiltshire, depending on their need. Usually, we will see a family at their home, or in an early years setting like a children's centre.
We carry out lots of initial health assessments, including:
- Antenatal assessments
- New baby visits
- Families moving in to Wiltshire with a young child
We respond to all referrals within 5 working days and make contact with families within 10 working days.
Our team works especially closely with parents who need extra support, either because of their circumstances or because of their child's needs. We work through decisions these parents need to make and support them to make positive lifestyle choices for their whole family.
It is really important for us to show care and compassion to all the families we work with. We are committed to the parents and children we work with and our profession. We work really hard to communicate clearly with families and are happy to discuss any challenges or concerns they have about their child's needs.
Full details of the health visiting service
As the child approaches their 4th birthday we will start transitioning their care and support to their school nurse. School nurses lead on the healthy child programme from 5-19.
If a child's family decide to move out of Wiltshire we make sure they are transferred to the health visiting service in their new area within 2 weeks. If a family needs extra support, we will make direct contact with their new health visiting service.