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Local health visitor’s project gets national backing

24 March, 2017

Health visitor Rebecca Price

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has announced the eleven nurse-led projects that will benefit from funding and a year-long professional development programme. A local project led by a Hull health visitor from City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP CIC), is one of the recipients.

All the projects are focused on aspects of physical and mental health for male patients. The new projects are part of the QNI’s Fund for Innovation and Leadership scheme, though this is the first time the nursing charity has focused on the health needs of one part of the population. Rebecca Price’s project will look at paternal postnatal depression and the problems some men encounter when they become fathers. ‘The Blues Boys’ aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of health visitors so they can talk to men about postnatal depression in a non-judgemental way and promote the positive role of fathers.

The QNI has been supporting nurse-led projects in the community since 1992, over which time 250 separate projects have received funding. The QNI’s Director of Programmes, Anne Pearson, has led the programme for the past 12 years. Anne commented, “The difference that these projects make in improving the lives of patients is remarkable and independent research has shown that many of them make a long lasting difference in improving nursing practice far beyond their original goals.  

“This latest round of projects shows the diversity of challenges facing healthcare for men, and the innovative approaches that community nurses are trialling to address those challenges around the country. Many men are living with long term conditions and community healthcare is vital in helping them to manage those conditions effectively. However, it is well established that men of working age are less likely to access healthcare services, which can lead to them becoming more unwell. 

“By bringing those projects together, sharing knowledge and problem-solving collectively, we can help increase the reach and capacity of the projects to improve the health of many individuals, and improve learning and leadership.”

The award is worth £5,000 and Becky will also be offered national support and advice from leading academics and researchers to evaluate her work.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said, “partly because I’m the first person from CHCP CIC to achieve this award, which is very competitive, but also because I hope I can make a real difference to men struggling with the transition to fatherhood.

“I want to increase health visitors’ knowledge about how men cope with becoming fathers and I’m particularly interested in paternal postnatal depression, which current research suggests affects up to 10% of new dads. Ultimately I’d like to help health visitors to become more confident in supporting fathers’ mental and physical health and as part of this, I’d really like to get more fathers talking to health visitors and using the service for support.

“Paternal postnatal depression is often hidden or not taken seriously and I want to raise awareness of the need to talk to fathers and find out what the barriers are to doing this, so we can understand the issue better and be more supportive and inclusive of fathers.

“Health visitors are in a perfect position to support fathers as well as mothers in their transition to parenthood and I’m hoping that this project will help them to recognise the mental health needs of new fathers as well as mothers, both before and after the birth of their baby.”

Tracy Vickers, care group director at CHCP CIC, said, “We are so pleased that Rebecca’s work will be part of this prestigious programme. Her work is very important in supporting men through the early stages of fatherhood and the funding and professional development from the QNI will make a huge difference.”