Early childhood home visiting programme: factors contributing to success


  • Maureen Heaman PhD RN,

  • Karen Chalmers PhD RN,

  • Roberta Woodgate PhD RN,

  • Judy Brown MN

Maureen Heaman,
Faculty of Nursing,
Helen Glass Centre for Nursing,
University of Manitoba,
Manitoba R3T 2N2,
E-mail: maureen_heaman@umanitoba.ca


Aim.  This paper reports a study of the factors that public health nurses, home visitors and parents consider important for the success of an early childhood home visiting programme.

Background.  The primary aim of early child home visiting programmes is to promote healthy and safe growth and development of infants and children in at-risk families. Few studies have focused on actual programme components which foster this outcome.

Methods.  The research was a descriptive, qualitative evaluation. Success of the programme was defined as positive changes in families which were seen as directly related to participation. The 58 participants were 24 public health nurses, 14 home visitors and 20 parents. One in-depth semistructured audio-taped interview was conducted with each participant between October 2003 and February 2004. All interviews were transcribed and analysed using open coding; themes and categories were developed and reviewed for congruence of coding.

Findings.  Participants discussed several factors that they considered important for the success of the programme: its particular characteristics, the programme activities and the healthcare providers.

Conclusion.  Components contributing to the success of early childhood home visiting programmes include a strength-based philosophy, voluntary enrolment of parents, regularly scheduled home visits, a curriculum to structure the home visitor's interventions, and careful attention to the selection, training, and supervision of home visitors.