Provision of information for pregnant mothers and how to care for their children has historically been via paper resources from health visitors and midwifes. When carers have a concern about their child, there are a range of existing freely available resources can be confusing, inaccurate, not engaging or not regionally focused enough. This means carers of children default to traditional methods to seek help e.g. visits to GP and accident and emergency departments, increasing pressure on these services for problems and conditions that can be dealt with either by other services or at home. There is also now evidence to show that the first 1000 days of being a parent are the most significant in a child’s development, and that these days have more influence on a child’s future more than any other time in their life.
Cambridge Community Services NHS Trust (CCS) are working in partnership with Best Beginnings to provide digital resources through the Baby Buddy app and a website or knowledge hub for mothers in Norfolk.
The Baby Buddy app is a free app designed to support mothers through their pregnancy by providing daily information, a resource for frequently asked questions and functionality to allow mothers to track common health goals. The support from the Eastern AHSN will develop this further by improving the goal setting technology with in the app and providing self-care resources around healthy weight, as 15% of women are obese at the start of their pregnancy. These factors increase pregnancy risk and can potentially harm the unborn child.
CCS will be producing a Knowledge Hub which will support mothers by providing resources via interactive material (animations, videos), quizzes and games to encourage learning. It will provide resources and provide opportunities for peer support. The site will also provide a webchat function and support webinars for mothers and other carers, this service will be provided by a health visitor.
The Patient activation measure (PAM) will be used to help direct mothers to appropriate resources and give health visitors an indication of the level of support required.
The project is not yet formally evaluated but it is hoped that by encouraging use of the Baby Buddy app, and by using the PAM score to target families who need health visitor support in the appropriate way and through the provision of the web chat, families will feel more in control of their own and their child’s health. It is hoped that there will be a reduction in the number of families who attend the general community clinics in the Norfolk region, that health visitors have better and easier access to the resources they need to share with their service users and that there may be some impact on the GP and A&E attendances within the region. The initial evaluation is due in August 2019.