Council delivers Maternal and Child Health services during lockdown

Published on 10 September 2021

Mother and baby on beach

Frankston City’s dedicated Maternal and Child Health nurses continue to deliver support, advice and key services during lockdown.

Coordinator Maternal and Child Health and Immunisation, Diana Wilson, said the safety and wellbeing of families and staff is paramount, adding all services are delivered in line with COVID safe practices.

Ms Wilson said: “The COVID pandemic has highlighted the value that the Maternal and Child Health Service provides young children and their families. The continued provision of health and developmental assessments, referrals and support to families has been particularly crucial at this time.

“We have adapted our service multiple times in line with the Department of Health advice, including complementing telehealth consultations with short face-to-face contact, minimising potential risk to clients and staff. The welfare of all is an utmost priority and COVID screening for each client is conducted prior to each appointment,” Ms Wilson said.

Key elements of the Maternal and Child Health service during lockdown include:

  • Full face to face appointments for babies under 8 weeks of age and those with additional needs.
  • Combined Telehealth and short face to face appointments for home visits and babies/children over 8 weeks of age.
  • Continued phone consultations for general queries and breastfeeding support.
  • Delivery of First Time Parent Groups online, ensuring that first time parents continue to be linked in with families in their local area despite restrictions.
  • Delivery of early parenting education sessions on line, including Infant Massage, Foods for Babies and Play and Development.
  • ‘Sleep and Settling’ information sessions delivered online, with one on one sleep and settling support delivered by Telehealth and in-home.
  • Enhanced Maternal and Child Health service delivering nursing interventions to families experiencing vulnerability.

Deputy Mayor Nathan Conroy said Frankston City’s Maternal and Child Health team includes Business Support Officers, Nurses, a Social Worker and an Early Parenting Worker. Some nurses are also Lactation Consultants and Immunisation Nurses.

Cr Conroy added that the Frankston City Maternal and Child Health service continues to offer a high quality service through the pandemic, which includes 10 visits at key ages and stages for children aged 0 to six years old, as well as additional appointments when deemed necessary.

Other Outreach and Enhanced Maternal and Child Health services are available for families who require additional support. 

Frankston City mother, Bronte, said the Maternal and Child Health nurses had provided huge support during lockdown, adding: “It felt like they cared a lot. They followed up with everything. I had such a lot of support during such a hard time.”

Frankston City currently has a birth rate of approximately 1,800 babies born annually.

Frankston City Maternal and Child Health statistics for 2020/21

  • Number of home visits to new parents: 1,777
  • Number of telephone consultations: 4,979
  • Number of first time parents: 719
  • Number of families engaged in the Enhanced MCH Service: 112
  • Number of referrals made to other services: 1,739
  • Number of group sessions provided: 360

Ms Wilson added that the dedicated Maternal and Child Health nurses are looking forward to resuming the full face to face service in line with COVID safe practices when restrictions are eased.

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