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Life Chances

Health visiting offer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak


The Public Health Nursing Team (Health Visitors and School Nurses) are working hard to ensure that all parents and families continue to receive the right support and guidance they need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We continue to be able to answer any parents’ queries about their child’s health and wellbeing via our Hubs as well as our parent/carer ChatHealth system.

ChatHealth for parents and carers: 07520631721

In addition to this we continue to support children and parents at the following key stages.

Existing services

Antenatal stage

We are working towards ensuring that mothers experiencing their first pregnancy receive a contact from us towards the end of their pregnancy. This enables us to introduce mothers to our service and to provide some key information at this time, to support their transition to parenting in readiness for the arrival of their little one. These discussions contain key information around safe sleeping, managing a unsettled baby and keeping yourself and your baby safe. Many of these conversations are being undertaken by telephone, or video teleconferencing.

For mothers who already have identified needs either identified by their midwife or through already being known by our service we are offering a health visitor contact delivered through a combination of video teleconferencing or face-to-face where appropriate.

Newbirth stage

At around 10-14 days we will speak to all parents to assess how mother and baby are. These contacts referred to as New birth assessments where possible will be completed face to face in your home, however this will be assessed based on a variety of factors, sometimes we may use community clinics. During this contact, we will undertake your baby’s Newbirth hearing screen, if not already completed, and will undertake a further face to face assessment of your baby including weight. PPE and social distancing at the time of this contact will be based on the current guidance.

At this stage we assess any additional needs from within the family. Alongside our partners within the Children’s centres, we are able to give support for a range of challenges including:

  • Supporting parents and their baby with feeding
  • Supporting adjustment to parenting
  • Supporting parents experiencing domestic abuse
  • Supporting and promoting positive mental wellbeing
  • Ensuring safeguarding of children is a priority
  • Supporting parents with their child’s general development.

Babies who need further universal plus reviews including weight review

Babies who have been identified by midwifery or Health Visitor as vulnerable due to either health reasons such as low weight gain or jaundice or due to safeguarding concerns are being assessed in a variety of ways to ensure face to face contact. This will be dependent on their Covid-19 situation. These include:

  • Face to face short clinics using social distancing and PPE based on government guidance;
  • Video Teleconferencing;
  • Doorstep scales delivery and family supported to weigh their baby with HV on phone or outside.

Supporting you and your baby with feeding

We offer a range of support for a variety of Infant feeding challenges. This support can be accessed through the Health Visitor Hubs, ChatHealth or via your Health Visitor direct.

We also continue to offer our special interest infant feeding clinics across Devon. These are currently delivered by video teleconferencing and face to face contacts with PPE and social distancing where necessary, with occasional telephone follow ups.

6-8 week review period

Where possible we want to provide support for all mothers around the 6-8 week period. Therefore, all mothers are provided with hub information and encouraged to contact our service and talk to a Health Visitor if they have concerns at this point.

For mothers who have an identified need we are undertaking 6-8 week reviews by telephone, video teleconferencing, or face to face dependant on need. We will be following appropriate government guidance in relation to PPE and Social Distancing at any face to face contacts.​

Developmental review – 1 year and 2.2 year

We continue to offer developmental reviews for all children just before their first birthday and then again at 2.2 years of age. This gives parents a great opportunity to ask any questions and gain further information about children’s development. Due to the current situation these are being undertaken via either telephone or video conferencing.

We are currently looking for potential available community clinic settings in order to move towards a community clinic contact.

Duty Health Visitor support, Duty School Nurse support and ChatHealth for parents and young people

We continue to support parents through our duty Health Visitor system and our ChatHealth system. This is based on parental need and all parents are given information on how to contact us during all contacts with the service.

  • ChatHealth Parents: 07520631721 (Text)
  • ChatHealth Young people age 11-19: 07520631722 (Text)

Universal plus and partnership plus contact

Some families and young people do require additional support at this time, which is in excess of our core contacts. We continue to offer a robust service which addresses domestic abuse, safeguarding, mental wellbeing and multiple other identified needs, or challenges that impact on health and inequalities which may affect a child within a family. In delivering this support we use a combination of telephone, video teleconferencing and face to face support. All following government guidance for PPE and social distancing based on need.

New services developed during COVID-19

We recognised a need to add to our service offer during Covid-19 in order to reach parents in a digital manner. Therefore we have developed and introduced the following to our Public Health Nursing Service.

Virtual Latch and Attach

Our Virtual group Latch and Attach provides early help for mothers who are breastfeeding and have nipple or breast pain that could be caused by ineffective Positioning & Attachment (P&A).

Key stage information emails

We now provide key stage information to parents in the form of an email sent to parents who have subscribed to them after their antenatal contact, Newbirth contact, and 6-8 week contact. These give key information at a variety of points over that first year of your child’s life. If you are not receiving these, contact your Public Health Nursing hub and give your child’s NHS number (on your red personal child health record), child’s DOB and your email address.

Virtual Family Focus

These are informal group family focus sessions facilitated by your health visiting team.

If you would like to attend any of the upcoming session, please email your area Hub, stating your name, your child’s name and date of birth, your email address and telephone number. Please let us know which session/s you would like to attend. We will then contact you with dates.


The sessions we have coming up soon are:

Focus on: Preparing for early feeding – starting off well

  • Age: Before your baby is born and up to 2 weeks after birth

A focus on normal expectations of feeding in the early days, giving simple information on how to get breastfeeding off to a really good start, normal expectations and how to get a really good latch from the beginning – Universal offer.


Focus on: Supporting close and loving relationships through responsive feeding

  • Age: 2-4 weeks after birth

A focus on your baby’s early communication recognising how we respond to them influences brain development. Unpicking our earliest responses through feeding.


Focus on: What my baby is telling me

  • Age: 2-6 weeks after birth

A focus on understanding your baby’s early behaviour and considering strategies that might support you understand and comfort them when crying, to encourage understanding of feeding cues and alert states and to ensure responsive parenting.


Focus on: Keeping well postnatally

  • Age: First 2 months after birth

A focus on looking after yourself after you have your baby. Moving forward with baby.


Focus on: My baby’s speech language and communication

  • Age: Birth to 12 months after birth

A focus on how to support speech, language and communication from before birth and beyond.


Focus on: Preparing for introduction of solid food at 6 months

  • Age: 4-6 months after birth

A focus on understanding when your baby is developmentally ready for solid foods and a quick guide to navigating this next stage.


Focus on: Breastfeeding when out and about and preparing to return to work and breastfeeding

  • Age: 4-12 months after birth

A focus on the practical elements of feeding in public, going out whilst breastfeeding without your baby and returning to work when you are still breastfeeding.


Focus on: My baby and play

  • Age: 4 months to one year after birth

A focus on encouraging appropriate play for your baby’s developmental age.


Focus on: My baby and sleeping

  • Age: 6-8 months after birth

A focus on sleeping and how to support your baby to meet their developmental needs around sleep.


Focus on: My growing child and toileting

  • Age: 18 months onwards

A focus on supporting your child to move through the experience of toilet training.


If you are concerned that a child is being abused, or to request support, you can:

Call 0345 155 1071

Complete the request for support online form

If it’s an emergency call 999