Health visitors are UK community health nurses who have undertaken further training to work as part of a primary health care team. As their name suggests, their role is to promote mental, physical, and social well-being in the community by giving advice and support to families in all age groups. Limited resources and staff within the NHS have traditionally meant that their work has been focused on childhood development, but the scope to expand their roles is slowly improving. The Healthy Child Programme published in October 2009 influences the service available to families. It is presented in three key documents: The First Five Years, The Two Year Review and The Healthy Child Programme for 5-19 year olds. They help a mother before and after she has had a baby.
They usually work with mothers once postpartum care is handed over from the midwives, advise on feeding, care, and support to both infants and parents, provide routine child development checks and have responsibility for child protection issues. They are also able to help people of any age who suffer from chronic illness or live with a disability. They may run health promotion schemes such as stop-smoking clinics.
Qualified health visitors are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Post-qualification, a 1 year full-time (or equivalent part-time) degree level course.
- Health Visitor description at UK NHS Careers website
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