Families are reminded that their local Health Visiting team is continuing frontline community work across the Outer Hebrides, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic began, the team continues to support families, maintaining frequent contact, building therapeutic relationships and providing a crucial role in providing support and advice to children and families, says NHS Western Isles.
Home visits have had to be reduced, but Health Visitors remain in the community doing face to face consultations as needed. Providing swift support is key, and despite restrictions on face-to-face contact, local staff have adapted to ensure families in need are able to receive the care and advice they require
From increased telephone consultations and video calls to provide high quality care and support, to risk assessments over the phone before visiting to ensure use of the correct PPE, keeping children and families safe is a top priority.
Raising a new baby can be a stressful and challenging time in normal circumstances, and many new mothers rely on Health Visitors as a key source and primary contact to help answer their questions, and support their babies and children with appropriate development. Health Visitors continue to provide practical advice and support for topics relating to breastfeeding, nutrition, safety – including safe sleeping arrangements, illnesses and mental health, among others. Health Visitors continue to advise families to attend childhood immunisation appointments and if possible arrange delivery of health start vitamins drops for the under 5’s if required.
As well as the child’s physical and mental wellbeing, Health Visitors work with families to ensure they have access to any services that they may require, including for urgent needs such as financial aid or for food banks in the area. Health Visitors also continue to contact/visit families with additional support needs, for example to support postnatal depression, parenting advice, and also in partnership with third sector agencies and social work for child protection support plan
It is acknowledged that family life has changed massively since the pandemic began, and many families are under even more pressure than normal. Having a new baby is a huge transition and at this time most parents don’t have the support they would normally rely on. Parents and or families can feel isolated and overwhelmed. Having somebody to turn to during this time is extremely important and contributes to the ongoing safety and well-being of their children.
The way Health Visitors engage with patients may have changed due to COVID-19, but they are all still here, and continue to work within the communities to help families access the services they need, while providing them with practical advice and support to ensure the best outcomes for their children. To contact your Health Visitor, parents are asked to use the office number given to them and/or the individual mobile numbers.