DIY Health (0-5): Co-Producing Solutions
Weekly sessions co-facilitated by a Health Visitor and an Adult Learning Specialist with local Children’s Centres support.
Consultation rates within the NHS are increasing, with 18% reported for ‘minor ailments,’ alone. Parents with children under the age of five consult the GP six times a year on average. Managing minor ailments is on of the Department of Health six high priority areas for Health Visiting.
In Bromley by Bow Health Partnership, repeat GP attendances for minor ailments led to recognition that health care professionals needed to work better with parents/ carers to identify how to share knowledge and skills to ensure greater parental confidence managing their children’s minor ailments at home, and to seek appropriate help.
We aimed to address the gap in knowledge, confidence and skills among parents with children under the age of 5, and decrease inappropriate attendance to primary care services.
Making the Case for Change
The collaborative nature of Adult Learning and health promotion in the DIY Health project provides a useful framework for delivering important health messages, emphasising the collaboration between health professionals, learning specialists and local people. This is of particular relevance when supporting parents to manage minor ailments in children under the age of 5 appropriately.
The sessions are based on a 12 week curriculum co-designed by parents and the facilitation team. The core curriculum covers fever, gastroenteritis, colds and flu, feeding and eczema (continually negotiated).
Working with families to design interventions that are developed with and for them is key to their success. The DIY project is underpinned by this co-productive approach and gives parents a stake in their healthcare environment, in line with self-care approaches.
Working with parents as partners recognises the experiential expertise they have, and how this can inform more relevant conversations around the topic at hand. The sessions place strong emphasis on parents’ experiences and the importance of understanding these in order to support and direct self-care for the future. During the sessions, the facilitators and the attendees co-produce solutions to the health problems, which leads to greater engagement and understanding of how to use services most effectively.
Learning and Next Steps
The Training Package documents the co-design of the DIY Health project and has been co-created to support additional organisations to implement a similar model in other locations. This will be available on local and national platforms as an open source tool, and the evaluation will also be widely available.
Project lead: Monica Lakhanpaul, Caroletha Irish and Emma Cassells
Organisation: UCLPartners in partnership with Bromley by Bow Health Partnership