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Celebrate your role

#HVweek, which runs from 21 to 25 August this year, is the perfect time to champion the teams working hard to bring the best possible services to children and families, says Obi Amadi.

What are you doing for #HVweek this year? Following on from last year’s success, we will be holding another national week to look at the important role that health visitors and their teams play in our communities, and to celebrate the excellent work that is being done by the service. 

So what is #HVweek good for? We often hear that health visiting and its unique benefits to the population are poorly understood. This week presents the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and think about the many ways to let others know about what your job entails. 

The way that services are organised and delivered is now likely to be different in every organisation, depending on how they have been commissioned. Many of you will have faced cuts to resources and staffing, and these are proving to be challenging times. In spite of this, teams continue to work hard, remain professional and give children and families the best possible service they can. So where you’ve faced some real challenges in practice, why not get in touch and let us know how you have overcome them?

#HVweek, which covers the whole of the UK, is also a brilliant chance to change things around and to do things a little differently. Why not invite other stakeholders – your trust board, CCG, care service colleagues, commissioners, national or local charities, nurses or midwives – to come out on your rounds to visit with you, or have lunch with you? Or why not set up a forum for some discussion and debate? 

To kickstart the week, we will be holding a celebration event in London on 21 August. It’s free to attend, so visit bit.ly/hv_celebrate to book your place.


#HVWEEK: An exchange of ideas

Consider the following issues, which are key to health visiting, and then think about how you can promote your role, inspire yourself and others, and engage in new partnerships, working through the week from Monday to Friday.

 

Monday 

Safeguarding

The health visitor’s role in safeguarding children is an important one. It relies on good relationships and collaborative work with many different professionals. How do you manage this process and how can you make it better? How can you reduce risk?

 

Tuesday 

Healthy weight and the family

A critical area – how you impact on the advice and information given to families can help them make better choices. We know breastfeeding rates can be improved, so how do you encourage women to breastfeed and engage their families to support them? And ensure those who choose not to breastfeed are fully informed, do so sensibly and safely, and know how and when to wean?

 

Wednesday 

The health conversation 

While coping with the pressure created by shortened contact time, how do you ensure the right health messages on nutrition, dental care, lifestyle and accident prevention are delivered to families, particularly with regard to migrants’ and vulnerable groups’ health? And how do services ensure that vulnerable groups get good access to appropriate services and information when they need it?

 

Thursday

Infant and maternal mental health 

The government considers this subject to be a priority. What initiatives in this area have been developed in your community? How do you raise the profile of such initiatives so that families are more easily able to speak out and ask for help?

 

Friday

Handovers between professionals

When it comes to communication and handovers from midwife to health visitor and health visitor to school nurse – and especially now that we are more reliant on electronic communication – how effective are these key service handovers? What do you do to facilitate them?


Unite-CPHVA Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in october

We will be holding a motion-based AGM on 16 October, the day before the 2017 Annual Professional Conference in Cardiff. You will be able to send delegates, and there are forms for submission of motions that branch secretaries should complete and send in by 14 August. There is no limit to the number of motions that you can submit or second, but they must relate to the professional work of the association, its members or its members’ clients. See the CPHVA website, unitetheunion.org, for further details.

Image credit: iStock

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