BC Healthy Connections Project

The purpose of the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP) trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Nurse-Family Partnership starting prenatally to child age two years. The BCHCP was funded by the Government of British Columbia, with support from four of BC’s regional health authorities. Plans are underway to evaluation longer-term program effectiveness across childhood and adolescence.

The Children’s Health Policy Centre (CHPC) led the trial, in collaboration with McMaster and other Universities. Between 2013 and 2016, we enrolled 739 pregnant girls and young women and their 737 children across the four participating regional Health Authorities (Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health). Northern Health was involved in an NFP nursing pilot and process evaluation. Many Indigenous (including First Nations, Métis or Inuit) girls and young women (200 or 27%) generously agreed to participate in this long-term trial. Many BCHCP children (237 or 32%) had an Indigenous mother or father.

The trial scientific team has also now published results showing NFP’s effectiveness. These findings show NFP reduces prenatal substance exposure (nicotine for smokers, and cannabis in the whole sample via maternal self-report). NFP did not reduce child injuries (administrative data) or subsequent maternal pregnancies, but did improve maternal-reported child language and mental health (problem behaviour) at age two years. Follow-up of long-term outcomes is warranted given that further benefits may emerge across childhood and adolescence.

The trial was conducted with rigour. The CHPC study team sustained engagement with the children and mothers for the 2.5 years of their participation—starting in pregnancy until children reached their second birthday. We conducted six research interviews with each family, either in-person or via telephone, completing more than 3,700 research interviews (>80% retention). Baseline findings showed that we reached the population that NFP was designed to benefit.

The CHPC will be following the BCHCP children and mothers across childhood and adolescence to investigate the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of NFP on improving health and wellbeing.

The BCHCP was funded by the BC Ministry of Health, with support from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development. The participating regional Health Authorities funded nursing and program delivery costs. Funding was also provided by the Mowafaghian Foundation and the R & J Stern Family Foundation. Charlotte Waddell and Harriet MacMillan are the Nominated Co-Principal Investigators. Nicole Catherine is the Scientific Director and Co-Principal Investigator. Susan Jack and Debbie Sheehan are also Co-Principal Investigators.

We also collaborated on two adjunctive studies: a nursing process evaluation, determining how NFP was delivered in select local health areas in BC (led by Susan Jack); and the Healthy Foundations Study, examining biological markers of NFP’s potential effect on child health (led by Andrea Gonzalez).

You can reach the BC Healthy Connections Project by email at: bchcp@nullsfu.ca

According to BC’s longstanding intentions, select regional Health Authorities are offering NFP to all eligible women — as a program embedded within other public health services. For more information on referrals to the program in these Fraser Health, Interior Health, and Island Health or the public health prenatal program in Vancouver Coastal Health, please contact your family doctor, nurse practitioner or midwife, or local Health Authority.

Training Manuals

The aim of the following training manuals is to inform health researchers, research trainees and students conducting long-term research with populations experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage. This body of work highlights the team’s knowledge and expertise collected over eight years in conducting more than 3,700 in-person and telephone research interviews with 739 girls and young women and their 737 children who were experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage

Part 1: Field Interviewer Hiring and Training

Part 2: Interview Preparation and Risk Mitigation

Part 3: Questionnaire Administration

Part 4: Data Collection Considerations

Part 5: The Field Interviewer Role

Nurse Family Partnership

Nurse Family Partnership information page