Health visitors are nurses or midwives who hold post-graduate specialist practitioner qualifications and work in the field of child family and public health. They work in the community, as autonomous practitioners, both designing and delivering care for families and communities.
They ensure all families have access to a universal set of evidence-based services as part of the healthy child programme to help them stay healthy. They use their expert professional judgement to agree appropriate levels of support over and above this universal service, building on parents’ strengths. Some of this support is provided by health visitors directly, some they delegate or refer to the appropriate professional or practitioner.
Range of services
Examples of common needs and services are:
- antenatal visits
- parenting support and advice on family health and minor illness
- new birth visits which include advice on diet, feeding, weaning and health checks
- formal health programme for immunisation, physical and developmental checks, information and support for families on feeding, safety and relationships, a child’s developmental milestones, dental health, keeping safe, nutrition, speech language and communication, play
- formal health programme for school entry (three to five years)
- Leading the Healthy Child Programme
- specific support on interventions e.g. post natal depression, supporting families with complex needs
Anyone can make a referral to the health visiting service