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What do I need to know to help the families in my care?

New e-learning resource for Health Visitors - What do I Need to Know to Help the Families in my Care?

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new e-learning session for Health Visitors which is designed to help Health Visitors to understand the important role genetic and genomic information can play in their practice. Health Visitors have a unique opportunity to assess children at different stages in their development and to interact with various members of a child’s family and they are therefore in a prime position to identify key information about families and to consider whether conditions they encounter may have a genetic cause.

The new resource focuses on the practical, ‘must know’ knowledge that Health Visitors can put to immediate use in their day-to-day work. In particular, the focus of the resource is that Health Visitors need to:

  • Be Alert to family members giving them information which may suggest that the child has, or is at a higher probability of having, a genetic condition
  • Ask appropriate questions to get relevant information
  • Action this information  (which may include reassurance, follow-up or referral)

The session uses a scenario based on health visiting normal practice to introduce when and how genetic information may be useful in a particular situation. The session provides tips for taking a family history and the actions a health visitor needs to consider to ensure the child and family have received the most appropriate information and follow up. It also gives the health visitor information on identifying different modes of inheritance and how to access further advice and support.

This new resource has been developed by the NHS National Genetics Education Centre in association with e- Learning for Health (eLfH) as part of the Department for Health’s Building Community Capacity project which is designed to support existing health visitors to gain confidence and extend or renew their knowledge and skills.