Here is a progress update on the BC Healthy Connections Project — a scientific evaluation of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP).
We closed recruitment in the randomized controlled trial (RCT) last December with 739 families enrolled across four of the five participating regional Health Authorities: 406 from Fraser Health; 84 from Vancouver Coastal Health; 122 from Interior Health; and 127 from Island Health. To date, more than 700 babies have been born to participants, including 11 sets of twins. The BCHCP is continuing with data collection on all women and children until the end of 2019.
Across these four Health Authorities, 215 children and women have now graduated from the study. We’re staying in touch with families after they graduate — to invite them to participate in future follow-up studies, for example, to see how children are doing when they reach kindergarten. Preliminary papers will be released later in 2017 with main study findings to follow after all the families have graduated later in 2020.
NFP is a home visiting program providing intensive supports to young women who are living on low income and preparing to parent for the first time. This innovative public health program is delivered over two-and-a-half years, beginning prenatally and continuing until children reach their second birthday. It aims to improve children’s mental health and development while also improving mothers’ life circumstances.
This evaluation of NFP is the first in Canada and is being led by the Children’s Health Policy Centre at SFU. We are doing this together with scientific collaborators at McMaster University, UBC and the University of Victoria. The project is also being conducted in close collaboration with policy partners in the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development — and in Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, Island, Interior and Northern Health Authorities.
As well as the RCT, the BC Healthy Connections Project includes two adjunctive studies, both federally funded. One is a nursing Process Evaluation, which aims to learn how Nurse-Family Partnership can best be adapted for use in BC. It is being conducted in all five participating regional Health Authorities. The other is the Healthy Foundations Study, which is assessing biological markers of stress in children who are receiving NFP, versus those who are not. It is being conducted in Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities. Results for Process Evaluation are being released on an ongoing basis, while preliminary Healthy Foundations reports are expected in early 2018.
With study recruitment closed, (and BCHCP data collection ongoing), BC leads the country by being the first province to now be offering Nurse-Family Partnership to all eligible women who are interested. In parallel to the BCHCP, all regional Health Authorities have opened the program to everyone, with no need for randomization to control and intervention groups.
To make or receive a referral to Nurse-Family Partnership please contact:
- Your nurse practitioner, family doctor or midwife, or
- Your local Health Authority:
- Fraser Health — Best Beginnings Program
- Vancouver Coastal Health — Public Health Prenatal Program Toll-free: 1-855-550-2229
- Island Health — Right From the Start Program
- Interior Health — Healthy From the Start Program Toll-free: 1-855-868-7710
- Northern Health — Heathy Start Program