Cambridgeshire learning nuggets - resources for health visitors

October 2013

From autumn 2013, health visitors in Cambridgeshire will be handing out standardised packs of health promotional information to new parents. CAPT’s Babies – top safety tips and Toddlers – top safety tips leaflets will be included in the packs. Lynden Poole, Health Promotion Resource Library Officer in Cambridgeshire, explains how the information packs were developed.

Lynden manages a central budget for the purchasing of health promotional resources across the county. These resources are used to support anyone in Cambridgeshire who is engaged in health promotion, by providing them with the most effective resources for their audiences.

Health visiting teams are one of the main groups that Lynden works with. “I’ve always provided health visitors with a broad range of leaflets that they can give to new parents in clinics and during home visits. But teams in different areas used different leaflets, so there was no consistency in the information that new parents were receiving. The local health lead put together a committee of health visitors to look at developing standardised information packs for new parents and asked me to support on this task.”

Deciding the contents

Lynden met with committee members to begin the process of reviewing leaflets and considering their suitability for inclusion in the parent information packs. The packs had to cover a wide range of topics, including breastfeeding, healthy eating, mental health and child safety. As well as looking at the contents, Lynden was able to advise on the cost of the resources and whether a good supply would be available. The committee then asked health visitors for feedback on a range of resources. Once the committee had provisionally agreed the pack contents, Lynden was able to provide more input on feasibility and costs.

“The health visiting teams were already using CAPT’s Babies and Toddlers leaflets and were very happy with them,” explains Lynden. “The committee decided that they were the right fit for the information packs for parents at the three month and one year visits.”

What we can learn

  • Health visitors may have personal preferences about the leaflets they like to give to parents, so it’s helpful to allow plenty of time for consultation and discussion about what to include in a standardised information pack.
  • It’s important to avoid bombarding new parents with too many leaflets in one go, so the contents of an information pack need to be highly selective.
  • You may find that some of the leaflets you choose are already being given to new parents in other contexts, such as on the postnatal ward. Try to avoid duplication wherever possible, so that you don’t waste resources. For example, if there’s a chance a parent already has a particular leaflet, health visitors can keep it in reserve and only give it to parents if they don’t already have a copy.
  • Recent budget cuts can mean that health visitors have limited finds to purchase directly valued accident prevention resources such as those produced by CAPT. As this learning nugget shows, public health resource libraries or units might be able to assist. They are in an excellent position manage a co-ordinated and cost-effective approach to the purchase of resources.

More information

See the Kent Community Health learning nugget for another example of a health visitor using accident prevention resources to good effect.

Updated February 2014