The BC Healthy Connections Project ensures that all pregnant and parenting women receive the care that they and their families need.
The BC Healthy Connections Project is the scientific evaluation of the Nurse-Family Partnership in BC. Prior to the BC Healthy Connections Project, the Nurse-Family program has not previously been evaluated in the Canadian context. The results of this evaluation will inform recommendations for program adaptations to maximize benefits for young women, children and families in BC.
This evaluation builds on a pilot study conducted in Ontario. The first phase of the BC Healthy Connections Project started with the adaptation of the Nurse-Family Partnership curriculum for Canada and the provision of Nurse-Family Partnership nursing education in BC in 2012. The second phase of the BC Healthy Connections Project began in 2013 and uses randomized controlled trial methods and a nursing process evaluation to assess the benefits of Nurse-Family Partnership to young, first-time mothers in BC as compared to existing services in the province. Recruitment for the BC Healthy Connections Project is now closed, and final study results will be available in 2020. The Nurse-Family Partnership program is now available as a program embedded within BC’s suite of universal and enhanced public health services.
What is Nurse-Family Partnership?
Nurse-Family Partnership is a maternal and child health program that provides first-time moms with valuable knowledge and support throughout the pregnancy, continuing until children reach two years of age. According to the US studies, partnering first-time moms with public health nurses empowers mothers to confidently create a better life for their children and for themselves.
The Nurse-Family Partnership program:
- Has three goals:
- To improve pregnancy outcomes
- To improve child health and development
- To improve parents’ economic self-sufficiency
- Is a voluntary program (i.e., women must willingly consent to participate)
- Involves home visits provided by public health nurses who have specialized education, starting early in pregnancy (ideally before 16 weeks gestation) and continuing through to the child’s second birthday
- Includes an average of 64 home visits, where public health nurse and mothers work together on topics such as how to have a healthy pregnancy, preparation for childbirth, nutrition, exercise, parenting, child development , future life planning and accessing community resources
- Sees the development of strong and trusting relationships between public health nurses and each mother participating in the Nurse-Family Partnership program. This intensive level of support helps women manage the emotional, social and physical challenges they face to gain the confidence to create a better life for their children and themselves.
- Is adapted to meet the unique needs of each individual woman and family.
Positive enduring program effects found in the US randomized controlled trials include:
- Improved prenatal health
- Fewer childhood injuries and subsequent confirmed maltreatment cases
- Improved early childhood mental health and cognitive and language development
- Reduced adolescent antisocial behaviour
- Fewer subsequent pregnancies and increased intervals between births for mothers
- Increased maternal economic self-sufficiency
- Decreased mortality for children and mothers
Who is leading the BC Healthy Connections Project?
The BC Ministry of Health the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development and the five participating regional BC health authorities have partnered with the Children's Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University and McMaster University to carry out the scientific evaluation.
Who is funding the BC Healthy Connections Project?
The BC Healthy Connections Project is funded by the Ministry of Health, with support from Ministry of Children and Family and the five regional health authorities (Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health).
Who do I contact for more information on the BC Healthy Connections Project?
For more information on the overall project, please contact:
- Your local health authority
- Visit Simon Fraser University BC Healthy Connections Project
- Donna Jepsen, Nurse-Family Partnership Provincial Coordinator at the Ministry of Health, at 604-775-0336 (Donna.Jepsen@gov.bc.ca)
Click here for more information on the Nurse-Family Partnership program