Health visitor guidance to parents aims to support at-home screening during lockdown

Institute of Health Visiting issues guide to screening reviews at six weeks during COVID-19 pandemic

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Health visitors are being asked to share a postnatal guide with parents in case they are unable to access the six-week screening check during lockdown.

Some babies’ six and eight-week routine physical examinations may be missed as a result of the pandemic.

Guidance sets out developmental checks parents can undertake 

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) and the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health have published a parents' guide to at-home assessment.

The postnatal screening, usually carried out by a GP, includes checking a baby’s eyes, heart, hips, and in boys’, testicles. Weight, length, and head circumference are measured to check development is normal.

The guide sets a series of questions parents can ask themselves, including:

  • Do you think your baby cannot ever fully open both eyes?
  • Does one leg seem longer than the other?
  • Do you have any other concerns about your baby’s hips?

If answers to these questions are yes, the guide encourages the parent to contact their health visitor or GP.

Any ‘yes’ answers relating to the baby’s heart should prompt same-day discussion with the health visitor or GP.

iHV executive director Cheryll Adams said: ‘We are asking every health visitor to share this important guide with all parents when they are first in contact with them after the birth of their baby.’ 

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