Talking about childhood experiences with health visitor enriches relationships and gives health improvement for whole family

A new report, published by Public Health Wales suggests that when Health Visitors enquire about caregiver's adverse childhood experiences (ACE's) as part of their routine visits, a series of positive benefits are found by all parties.

These include supporting the mental and physical health of the caregiver, and developing an enriched relationship between health visitor and caregiver that results in the caregiver being more likely to feel comfortable discussing other issues in the future.

Key findings from the study were:

Despite health visitors' initial concerns over a potential negative response, the offer of ACE enquiry was very well received, with 9 out of every 10 caregivers agreeing to participate in the pilot, across all three health boards

Over 40% of caregivers with any ACEs said the ACE enquiry pilot was the first time they had told a professional or service about these experiences, with first disclosure most common among male caregivers (55.1% of males with ACEs).

4 in every 5 caregivers that provided feedback agreed that their Health Visitor got to know them better by asking about their childhood experiences and 85% suggested the intervention had made them more likely to discuss other issues with their Health Visitor in the future. So the quality of their relationships and service they received had improved.

Caregivers who received ACE enquiry were significantly less likely to report experiencing parental stress (at six months post-partum), when compared with those who had not taken part in ACE enquiry.