Christmas gift helps FNHC give more babies a better start

FNHC 2016

Christmas joy: baby Finn with parents Anna and JJ and FNHC Health Visitor Marion Bradbury

More Island babies will get the best possible start in life thanks to Jersey Electricity’s annual Christmas gift to Family Nursing & Home Care. This year funds the utility saved by not sending corporate Christmas cards have enabled FNHC to purchase a consignment of the new edition MECSH (Maternal Early Sustained Home Visiting) programme - Learning To Communicate - DVDs and books from Australia.

FNHC has 16 Health Visitors who work with families from the antenatal period until the child enters schools. But a significant number of families need more support than the standard visits permit. Health Visitor Marion Bradbury, who has been trained on the MECSH programme, explains: ‘MECSH enables the Health Visitor to provide a much more structured programme of home visits and spend more time with families who meet certain criteria such  premature babies, young mothers, mothers suffering anxiety or depression and babies with extra needs. We visit every week to start and continue as long as needed, then we cut back to fortnightly, monthly, six monthly and so on as the level of support required diminishes.’

One such family is Anna and JJ Anderson and their baby Finn who was born at just 24 weeks. Finn spent five months in an English hospital pre-mature baby unit, being monitored 24 hours a day before coming home to Jersey. A very proud Dad JJ said: ‘He’s certainly a little fighter. Finn was born on Boxing Day last year so he’s one year old this week but he wasn’t due until 13 April so the MECSH programme has been a huge support in helping Anna and I understand Finn’s development, what that gap means, what should be his next steps. We can use the book and the DVD to see how he’s doing against what we should expect and keep track of his developmental needs.

‘Marion is a huge support. As well as carefully monitoring Finn and providing us with help and advice on her visits, she is a single point of contact for us to make inroads to the medical fraternity. If, for example, we have a particular concern we can call Marion who can quickly access a paediatrician, a dietician or whoever is needed, mediate between several health professionals and cover all the options.’

Marion added: ‘Finn was still on oxygen when he came home so that can be very frightening for new parents, even more so when you have no family support in the Island. MECSH helps parents through the anxieties and builds their confidence which is obviously good for baby.’

JE CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘This is the ninth year we have supported Family Nursing & Home Care in this small way. We are always delighted to help the tremendous work they undertake on behalf of our Island community and this MECSH programme is another fine example.’