The BC Healthy Connections Project supports the goals of Healthy Start to ensure that all pregnant and parenting women receive the care that they and their families need.
Through the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP), a nurse home visiting program called the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) will be scientifically evaluated. NFP is designed to help young, low-income, first-time mothers and their children. Prior to the BCHCP, this program had never been tested in Canada before. The evaluation will determine whether this program works in BC communities.
The evaluation builds on the pilot study conducted in Ontario. Phase I of the BCHCP started with the adaptation of the NFP curriculum for Canada and the provision of the NFP nursing education in BC in 2012. Phase II of the BCHCP, started in 2013, employs randomized controlled trial (RCT) methods and a nursing process evaluation over the next five years to determine whether NFP is more or less effective than existing services in BC. Please note that for the duration of the BCHCP recruitment the NFP program is accessible only through this research study.
What is Nurse-Family Partnership?
Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) 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 BCHCP will determine whether this is also true for BC mothers and children.
The NFP is an intervention for first-time, low-income mothers, starting in pregnancy.
- It has three goals:
- To improve pregnancy outcomes
- To improve child health and development
- To improve parents’ economic self-sufficiency
- It is a voluntary program (i.e., women must willingly consent to participate)
- Home visits are provided by public health nurses (PHNs) who have specialized education and knowledge, starting early in pregnancy (ideally before 16 weeks gestation) and continuing through to the child’s second birthday
- An average of 64 home visits are provided and PHNs 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
- PHNs develop strong and trusting relationships with each mother participating in the NFP 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.
- The NFP program is adapted to meet the unique needs of each individual woman and family.
Positive enduring program effects found in the US RCTs 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 evaluation of Nurse-Family Partnership?
The Children's Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University is leading the scientific evaluation through the BCHCP over the next five years - in partnership with McMaster University as well as the BC Ministry of Health (MoH), the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), and five participating regional BC health authorities.
Who is funding the BCHCP?
The BCHCP is funded by the MoH, with support from MCFD and five regional health authorities (Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health). Referrals are being managed through the regional health authorities.
Who do I contact for more information on the overall project?
For more information on the overall project, please contact:
your local health authority, or Donna Jepsen, NFP Provincial Coordinator at the MoH, at 604-775-0336 (Donna.Jepsen@gov.bc.ca) or visit the SFU BCHCP webpage.
*Please note that for the duration of the BCHCP recruitment the NFP program is accessible only through this research study.
Register your pregnancy as early as possible with your local health authority to connect with public health nurses and community resources that'll provide you, your baby and family with the best possible information and care. This support is available to all pregnant women who are residents of BC. Here's how to register.