World Patient Safety Day: How switching online helped the 'Understanding your Baby' group sessions thrive during COVID
Health visiting is just one of the many essential children’s services that CLCH offers across the areas we serve. They provide support to all families and will support parents from pregnancy until a child reaches the age of five.
As part of World Patient Safety Day, for which the 2021 campaign theme is 'safe maternal and newborn care', we are highlighting the work of CLCH’s health visiting service in Wandsworth and Richmond and how the team adapted during COVID-19 to bring their “Understanding Your Baby” face-to-face sessions online and continued to deliver first-rate support in the process.
The service provides a group session to mothers, who are experiencing a low mood and/or anxiety, alongside supporting where there may be parent-infant relationship difficulties. The groups provide a framework for thinking about parent-infant relationships and support mothers to recognise their own feelings and needs, as well as those of their baby.
The team ran three groups for eight weeks, with eight two-hour sessions during this time, that took place virtually on BlueJeans. The sessions are led by the infant mental health team, with Samantha Brindley (Interim Specialist Health Visitor in Perinatal Mental Health) one of those involved in delivering the service to mothers and their children.
Despite no face-to-face contact, the online setting continued to provide a safe space for mothers to talk about their mental health, allowing them to improve their own mental health and the parent-infant relationship, along with gaining feedback from the mothers
Samantha assessed of the sessions: “I wasn’t sure how successful facilitating a group on a virtual platform would be, particularly one that is therapeutic and for mothers who are having difficulties.
“The mothers seemed very accepting of video contact and the idea of a group online that would connect them with other mothers facing similar difficulties. All of the mothers were experiencing isolation due to the lockdown measures.”
To gauge an understanding of how the sessions worked, the team gathered feedback from the mothers involved in the sessions to help assess their success for those taking part in them.
“Feedback from the sessions in the midst of a global pandemic was immensely positive for attendees and CLCH staff alike. Although many would have preferred to have maintained the face-to-face contact, they added that the group sessions had been immensely valuable and allowed them to have a form of social contact with other mothers and babies.”