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Child health nurses' perceptions of the Family Community-based Assistance Resourcing and Education program in contemporary practice: a qualitative study.

BACKGROUND: The Family Community-based Assistance Resourcing and Education Program (FCP) is a nurse home visiting program that was introduced in Queensland two decades ago to redress health inequalities for infants from families experiencing specific social stressors. Locally adapted versions of this home visiting program are still in use, but have not been evaluated. This study examined child health nurse perceptions of the adapted FCP in one regional Queensland health service.

METHODS: A qualitative descriptive exploratory study using two focus groups (conducted May 2019) with Child Health Nurses who delivered the FCP was conducted. Transcripts of digital recordings were analysed using Braun and Clarke's (2006) six-step framework for guided thematic analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 16 Child Health Nurses participated in the study, with a mean of 10years' experience with the program. Data analysis generated 12 themes organised under three domains: 'Establishing the relationship with families', 'What works in practice' and 'We could do it better'. Participants cited flexibility, expert input and in-home delivery as key program benefits. However, narrow eligibility criteria, poor screening for perinatal anxiety and resourcing constraints were identified as limitations.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to measure Child Health Nurses' perceptions of an adapted FCP. It sheds light on their 'practice wisdom', including the program's ability to meet the needs of families with social vulnerabilities. The study supports prior calls for home visiting programs to be evaluated against clearly stated program intentions. Participant insights have been shared to inform practice and program implementation both locally and as part of Queensland's First 2000Days health service delivery reform agenda.

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