Better Care

BCHC Family Nurse Partnership team recognised nationally for best practice

Jade Moore and her family nurse supervisor Rachel Tuton
Jade Moore and her family nurse supervisor Rachel Tuton

Birmingham Community Healthcare’s Family Nurse Partnership has been chosen as a case study of good practice to promote the Government’s national extension of the initiative.  

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter announced that 16,000 of the most disadvantaged new mums and dads in the country will be offered tailored help and support from a specialist nurse by 2015. 

BCHC delivers the largest FNP programme in the country and has been widely featured across local and national media showcasing the work of our family nurses and young mothers who have benefited from the programme.

Research in England has found that mothers who receive support from family nurses stop smoking during pregnancy, have high levels of breastfeeding, improved self-esteem and are much more likely to return to education or employment when their children are old enough for them to do so.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “Every child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.  Family Nurse Partnerships play a major role in supporting children in some of the most disadvantaged circumstances to have the very best start in life.

“Around 11,000 families are already benefiting from personalised support from family nurses, but I am determined that we should go further, and that is why we will expand the programme to support 16,000 families by 2015.

The Family Nurse Partnership is offered to first time mothers under the age of 20 from early in pregnancy until the baby is two years old.  A specially trained family nurse visits the mother regularly and builds a close, supportive relationship with the family, using proven methods to help with things like how to care for a new baby, build a relationship and psychologically prepare for parenthood.  Dads are alsoinvolved in the visits.

US studies have shown that Family Nurse Partnerships lead to a wide range of benefits for vulnerable young mothers and children. Those benefits include:

  • 48 per cent reduction in cases of child abuse;

  • 56 per cent reduction in A&E attendances for children;

  • 61 per cent fewer arrests and 72 per cent fewer convictions of mothers by the time their child is 15;

  • 67 per cent reduction in the use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana in children at the age of 12; and

  • 50 per cent improvement in language skills by the time children are 21 months old.

21-year-old Jade Moore from Bromsgrove is now coming to the end of the FNP programme along with 22 month old daughter Miyah-Ann.

Jade said: “Before Miyah-Ann was born, my midwife asked me during a home visit if I wanted any extra support. I accepted the offer with open arms as the benefits sounded like a great opportunity for a young mother like myself.”

The FNP has three key aims: to improve pregnancy outcomes; promote child health and development and support parents’ in becoming economically self-sufficient

The team’s methods are focused on building strong relationships between the client and family nurse to facilitate behaviour change and tackle the emotional problems that prevent some mothers and fathers caring well for their child.

Jade said: “I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant and my partner and I were living with my mom at the time. Let’s just say she wasn't best pleased when she found out I was expecting.

“That’s when we began meeting my family nurse. She was so kind and knowledgeable that I knew straight away we would get on well and that I would be able to talk to her about anything.”

“Rachel helped me give up smoking when I was pregnant. The stop smoking pack and the visual aids were really helpful. I also received lots of support which helped me get ready for the birth, and understand the pain relief that was available to me.

“After Miyah was born, Rachel’s weekly visits became even more of a lifeline.  We couldn't wait for them so we could ask all the questions we had.”

Jade’s family nurse was Rachel Tuton, who said: “Jade was great to work with as she and her partner were so engaged with the programme and understood how the programme benefited themselves, their family and their daughter.

“When we visit families, one of the many things we work alongside the parents to help improve their understanding of their child’s developmental stages, understanding the child’s cues and recognising and developing communication between both parent and child to help enable the parents to become positive and responsive.

Rachel, a family nurse supervisor at Birmingham Community Healthcare said:

“Miyah’s development was wonderful to see and both Jade and her partner recognised that she was achieving all her developmental goals, which is a testament to Jade and her partner’s continued hard work and joy in being parents.”

Jade added: “The FNP also helps to give young mothers their confidence back and shows that just because you’re a mom, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a life of your own anymore. It’s these small things that make a big difference.”

“Rachel was very different to my midwife because she was easier to talk to and seemed to take more interest in how both me and my partner were doing whereas my midwife only seemed to focus on me and my baby.

“Rachel went out of her way to make my partner feel a lot more involved, for example getting him to read to Miyah when she was just a few weeks old. Two years on, she now has a massive interest in books, she can talk well and does everything a child of her age is expected to.”

“The programme has been life-changing. I am now back at work full-time and manage to fit in a part-time Level 3 human resources course. If it wasn’t for Rachel, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to have taken on so much and wouldn't have been comfortable working long hours because of missing out on quality time with Miyah.

“Rachel helped me to understand how working will give me and my family the best chance in life, so for that I’m truly thankful.”