• families with children;
  • family nursing;
  • psychological and social coping;
  • resource-enhancing intervention;
  • service evaluation

Aim.  The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of a resource-enhancing family-oriented intervention.

Background.  There is very little empirical knowledge of how nurses working in a home context develop relationships with families, what methods they use to enhance families’ resources and how such relationships affect the families’ health outcomes.

Design.  The study was designed as a descriptive service evaluation.

Methods.  A total of 129 family members from 30 families with small children participated in the study. Data were collected with family care plans and client reports in 2004–2005. Data were analysed by qualitative content analysis and by descriptive statistical methods. Resource-enhancing discussions were carried out in all family meetings. Other methods were video guidance, creation of a family tree and parents’ role map, network collaboration, observation and parent-child group activity.

Results.  The families needed support mostly in parents’ health and well-being, coping with parenthood, upbringing and child care, parents’ relationships, social relations and children’s health and growth. The families had an average of five support needs at the beginning of the intervention and 1·8 needs at the completion. The families set on average 3·6 and achieved 4·5 goals during the family nursing process.

Conclusion.  The resource-enhancing family nursing can be used for supporting parenthood, the raising of and caring for the children, strengthening of social support networks, decreasing the need for support from the authorities and enhancing the parents’ resources to manage the duties related to their work and studies.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The study resulted in empirically based concepts that can be used in the future to construct instruments to evaluate the effectiveness of resource-enhancing family nursing from the perspective of families and family health. The findings add to our professional understanding of resource-enhancing family nursing.