Realist Review – Health Visiting in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic Experience (RReHOPE)

About the project

This research is about learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will focus on how people delivered and received health visiting services during that time.

Health visiting services are a core part of child health programmes for children aged 0 to 5. They help to ensure every child has the best start in life. They include home visits and reach all new babies and their families. Health visiting services are organised and delivered differently across the UK. But the goal is the same: to improve outcomes for children.

Our research project is a 'realist review'. This involves finding and studying any evidence that has described changes and impacts during the pandemic. When put together, the evidence will tell us how the pandemic has affected services, service providers, and families. We are interested in learning lessons about the impact of COVID-19 – both good and bad – on health visiting services. This is so we can recommend improvements in how to organise and deliver them in the future. Improvements might help to make services more efficient, more effective, and fairer. This will help health visitors and others to deliver the best possible support to babies, young children, and their families.

Project details

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have funded this project through their Health Services and Delivery Research Programme (NIHR134986). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


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The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Stirling, Kent and Oxford. The team includes Erica Gadsby (project lead) and Emma King (both at Stirling), Sally Kendall (Kent), Geoff Wong and Claire Duddy (Oxford), and Madeline Bell (public involvement lead).