A new guide for health visiting teams to measure the outcomes and impact of their practice has been launched in order to help them demonstrate their value to local commissioners.
The toolkit is intended to support health visitor service leads in developing outcome measures for their local health visiting service, according to its developers.
“There is now renewed pressure to demonstrate outcomes of health visiting services”
The Institute of Health Visiting published the guide to coincide with Health Visitor Week, which is currently taking place to raise awareness of the role.
It said there was a growing body of evidence that demonstrated health visitors could have a positive outcome on health improvement.
The tool would allow them to demonstrate the impact of their work in early intervention, health promotion, and the prevention of ill health in children and families, said the institute.
The guide – titled Outcomes and Evaluation in Health Visiting: A Practical Guide – is broken down into a series of sections to explore both outcomes and evaluation in health visiting, including:
- Research and Outcomes for Children and Families
- Evaluation Guides and Models for use in practice
- National Outcomes Frameworks, Tools and Resources
- Outcomes in Health Visiting Practice
- Presenting Information on Outcomes: Using Case Studies and Scale Measures in Practice
Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the institute, said there has been an “increased emphasis” on the need to measure the impact and effectiveness of health visiting services in England in the wake of the Department of Health’s Health Visitor implementation plan.
She noted that services collected data for key performance indicators, as described in the national health visiting core service specification set out in 2014 by NHS England.
However, these indicators mainly focused on the number of core contacts achieved, which does not accurately reflect the depth and breadth of health visiting activity, or describe the outcomes for children and families, she said.
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Dr Adams highlighted that there was now “renewed pressure to demonstrate outcomes of health visiting services” after the recent transfer of their commissioning from the NHS to local authorities.
She said: “Local commissioners are developing their understanding of the health visitor role and how the service contributes to local and national public health outcomes, the local early years strategy and broader social, economic and fiscal outcomes.
“Health visitors must, therefore, develop and gather information which is relevant to their practice, and which captures the impact of health visiting interventions on health outcomes,” she said.