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Warning on the impact of the withdrawal of public health caregiver home visits for new parents and infants

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The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has highlighted the importance of home visits by public health nurses to monitor the well-being of parents and infants.

Health care baby development checks have recently been withdrawn by the HSE in several areas across the country.

Instead of the standard early developmental screenings by a public health nurse, PSI said this system shifts to “prioritization” in certain areas, meaning only young children with a proven medical risk or need are seen.

PSI said this suspension of service will result in more “severity of the disease” and “longer term health problems for these children and parents as a result of this delay” as well as a “costly burden”.

PSI President Dr. Vincent McDarby said the public health care system is a national service in Ireland but that is now changing.

“The lack of early detection and preventive measures will result in more serious difficulties being identified at a later stage and therefore have a costly impact on the baby, child and family,” he said.

The PSI Special Interest Group on Perinatal and Early Childhood Mental Health and the Special Interest Group on Pediatric Psychology have outlined the importance of home visits by public health nurses in the early years.

The groups said these home visits are an “essential community-based service” to promote and protect the health of the population.

Public health nurses typically meet with families at home for the first three days to assess and advise on a range of issues, including nutrition, safe sleep, child safety, bonding and connecting with your child.

They identify and inform and counsel parents suffering from postpartum anxiety or depression and support parents to have confidence in their own role as parents.

Visits are also possible at regular intervals during the first three and a half years of a child’s life to support further development, assess developmental delays and identify follow-up measures for possible underlying diseases.

It is well known that women and men are at risk for postpartum depression and anxiety during the first year after the birth of their baby.

PSI stakeholders said home visits provide an “essential lifeline” for the emotional well-being of new parents, helping them understand if their mood issues are more than just “baby blues” and advising them on where to go for help if needed can get.

The association said the visits address “hands-on and caring” concerns with a new baby, but also highlight ways to “connect and enhance” the baby-parent relationship.

It is said that there is an established body of research suggesting that early relationships provide the basis and template for later social and emotional development.

This cessation of service will result in more serious illness and longer term health problems for these children and parents due to this delay.

https://www.independent.ie/news/warning-issued-on-impact-of-withdrawal-of-public-health-nurse-home-visits-for-new-parents-and-infants-41907396.html Warning on the impact of the withdrawal of public health caregiver home visits for new parents and infants

Fry Electronics Team

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