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Evaluation of a Brief Intervention to Assist Health Visitors and Community Practitioners to Engage with Fathers as Part of the Healthy Child Initiative

Humphries, Heatha and Nolan, Mary (2015) Evaluation of a Brief Intervention to Assist Health Visitors and Community Practitioners to Engage with Fathers as Part of the Healthy Child Initiative. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 16 (4). pp. 367-376. ISSN Online 1477-1128

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Abstract

Aims: To improve engagement of Health Visitors and Community Practitioners delivering the Healthy Child Programme with fathers. To evaluate a one-day, father-focused workshop with a supporting handbook for Practitioners. To identify institutional and organisational barriers to engagement with fathers. Background: The UK government policy encourages health professionals to engage with fathers. This derives from robust evidence that fathers’ early involvement with their children impacts positively on emotional, behavioural and educational development. Yet, there is little evidence that the importance of engaging fathers is reflected in Health Visitor training or that primary-care services are wholly embracing father-inclusive practice. The Fatherhood Institute (FI), a UK charity, has developed a workshop for Practitioners delivering the Healthy Child Programme. Method: A ‘before and after’ evaluation study, comprising a survey followed by telephone interviews, evaluated the impact of the FI workshop on Health Visitors’ and Community Practitioners’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in practice. A total of 134 Health Visitors and Community Practitioners from eight NHS Trusts in England attended the workshop from November 2011 to January 2014 at 12 sites. A specially constructed survey, incorporating a validated questionnaire, was administered before the workshop, immediately afterwards and three months later. Telephone interviews further explored participants’ responses. Findings: Analysis of the questionnaire data showed that the workshop and handbook improved participants’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in practice. This was sustained over a three-month period. In telephone interviews, most participants said that the workshop had raised their awareness of engaging fathers and offered them helpful strategies. However, they also spoke of barriers to engagement with fathers. NHS Trusts need to review the training and education of Health Visitors and Community Practitioners and take a more strategic approach towards father-inclusive practice and extend services to meet the needs of fathers.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: attitudes, fathers, health visitors, intentionality, workshop
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Health and Society
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Depositing User: Tanya Buchanan
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 08:32
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2016 08:32
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/4591

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