The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is contributing to a new home nursing trial aimed at promoting positive parenting and childhood development, launched today by Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell.
‘Right@home’ is a nationwide study that will provide intensive home nursing visits to expectant mums.
In Victoria, approximately 300 expectant mums in the Dandenong, Frankston, Ballarat and Whittlesea areas will participate.
The mothers will receive regular home visits from the same local maternal and child health nurse from when they are 16 weeks pregnant until their children turn two.
Minister Lovell said the Victorian Government had contributed $6.8 million to the study because of overwhelming international evidence of its potential benefits.
“All the evidence from similar trials overseas shows that sustained home visits from nurses can be an effective way to minimise the impact of disadvantage on the development of young children,” Ms Lovell said.
Similar nurse home visit trials in the US showed:
- 67% reduction in behavioural and intellectual problems in six-year-olds
- 56% decrease in emergency department visits for accidents
- 50% reduction in language delays in 21-month-olds.
The RCH Centre for Community Child Health will lead the evaluation of the trial together with campus partner the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI). Other project partners include Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and the Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation.
“Providing new mums with regular support from a familiar person they trust can strengthen parent-child relationships and ensure children have a positive start in life,” Ms Lovell said.
“It’s important for Victoria to be involved so we can see if what worked overseas can work just as well locally.”
ARACY chief executive officer Dr Lance Emerson agreed.
“This prevention-focused trial will provide critical information on how we can enhance developmental and educational outcomes for children,” Dr Emerson said.
“It also provides vital training to participating nurses – equipping them with the skills they need to provide intensive and sustained support to families with complex needs.”
Associate Professor Sharon Goldfeld will lead the trial’s evaluation at the RCH and MCRI.
“Ensuring this trial has a rigorous evaluation will be vital to establishing the true effectiveness, cost effectiveness and benefit of home nursing visits,” A/Professor Goldfeld said.