This is an example of two teams, a health visiting team and a children’s centre team, working together. The two teams are both employed by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, share an office and co-location makes communication easier. To step across an office and talk to someone is simple, while leaving messages which are returned when you are out is a laborious process.
Sharing records was a major hurdle. It took time and training to get this right, but the result is one set of records for each child.
The teams developed an enhanced version of the Healthy Child Programme, with every family receiving 12 core home visits in the first three years of life. These are enhanced by bespoke packages of care being jointly delivered to families with assessed additional needs.
Health visitors and children’s centre workers do some joint visits, particularly where the issues are more complex. Where children’s centre workers provide family support, the health visitor is always fully informed and provides on-going guidance and support to the worker. The intensive outreach programme led to a dramatic increase in families accessing services at the Centre and very high levels of engagement are maintained.
As a result of joint working, health visitors have helped children’s centre staff develop their skills and the children’s centre team has helped health visitors by delivering on-going support to families with lower-level needs and working effectively in an ethnically diverse area.
Integrated working has allowed the teams to use the mix of skills effectively – families are supported by the worker with the right skills and knowledge for them, freeing health visitors to concentrate on the most complex issues.