On April 29th, members were both inspired and challenged by the ongoing work of the maternal and child health workers in our community - thanks to the presentation of Maternal & Child Health nurse, Courtney Noonan. Courtney gave an overview of her department and left us with a confronting case study that clearly illustrates both the need for, and extreme challenges of health care in this field. Click "Read more..." for more details.
Courtney provided an overview of the work done by the Maternal and Child care department at the hospital. She outlined the 10 key visits made by the maternal and childcare nurses (see the diagram) which mainly cover the years from birth to 3.5 years - although technically, they can provide services up to the age of 6 years. The diagram shows the sorts of things covered by the service e.g. growth and development, nutrition and feeding, safety, parenting skills, injury prevention, support for mothers and even family violence support. Courtney mentioned that all nurses in the department are trained to look out for signs of family violence, and how to tackle the issue with young mothers.
Courtney reminded us that the books for babies we provide go to the local parents who are forced to have their babies out of town due to health reasons. The Hospital provides books for babies born in Maryborough. Courtney recommended that members have a look for the "Where is the Brown Bear?" clip on YouTube - a great example of a book being read to a baby.
Courtney finished her presentation with an anonymous case study of an extreme but typical case with which her department has to contend - a rather sad, concerning story.
When asked if she had any advice for grandparents, Courtney said that raising a child in today's world is more difficult than ever despite the level of communication around. We need to remember the old adage that "it takes a village to raise a child" - we've lost those villages, and we need to get them back.
After this story, one of our members asked, "Are there any happy stories?" Courtney responded with the fact that 120 babies born in our town last year are thriving. And, after a period of nine months when no mothers responded to offers of joining a support group for young mothers, and after a particular push to get the word out about these groups, we've just had a month where nine new mothers took advantage of this service! Courtney added that Maryborough is actually quite well resourced for Maternal and Child health due to recent changes of focus initiated in part by Go Goldfields.
Through questions, members also learned that there are 115 children in home care attending MEC, and many of these children are actually being raised by grandparents.
We also learned that the birthrate has increased significantly during Covid, but so have instances of mental illness.