Health care and social service professionals' perceptions of a home-visit program for young, first-time mothers
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INTRODUCTION: Little is known about health care and social service professionals' perspective on the acceptability of long-term home-visit programs serving low-income, first-time mothers. This study describes the experiences and perspectives of these community care providers involved with program referrals or service delivery to mothers who participated in the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a targeted nurse home-visit program. METHODS: The study included two phases. Phase I was a secondary qualitative data analysis used to analyze a purposeful sample of 24 individual interviews of community care providers. This was part of a larger case study examining adaptations required to increase acceptability of the NFP in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In Phase II (n = 4), themes identified from Phase I were further explored through individual, semi-structured interviews with community health care and social service providers, giving qualitative description. RESULTS: Overall, the NFP was viewed as addressing an important service gap for first-time mothers. Providers suggested that frequent communication between the NFP and community agencies serving these mothers could help improve the referral process, avoid service duplication, and streamline the flow of service access. The findings can help determine key components required to enhance the success of integrating a home-visit program into an existing network of community services. CONCLUSION: The function of home-visit programs should not be viewed in isolation. Rather, their potential can be maximized when they collaborate and share information with other agencies to provide better services for first-time mothers.
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