Solent NHS Trust unveils new online health information portal

Solent NHS Trust is supporting families with a new digital portal that offers a wealth of information for expectant parents, parents and families.

Family Assist Solent allows anyone expecting a child or with a child under the age of two to access health content written or approved by local health professionals. It offers families a safe place to access reliable information and support during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood.

Future or new parents can register for the portal via their nursing service. Once registered, users receive key information via email on relevant stages of pregnancy and child development. The information covers pregnancy up to the age of three.

The idea for the portal came from Kelly Pierce, Head of Integrated Early Support and Prevention and Public Health Consultant Midwife for Solent NHS.

She said: ‘We know being a first-time parent or expanding your family can feel daunting and worrying and that has been heightened for many in West Sussex and beyond during the pandemic. We knew it was important to create a Solent version of Family Assist to instantly deliver professional information and advice in a clear and reassuring way.

“We also recognize that parents and friends play a vital role in parents’ support network and help them stay in touch with their loved ones. Family Assist Solent allows users to invite these people to the portal, allowing them to join the overall parenting journey.

Rollout of the portal began in January 2022 and since then there have been 25,000 visitor interactions. One of the areas it is able to support is mental health – particularly timely with Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week taking place this month.

Family Assist Solent is able to provide mental health support to parents and allow them to contact them whenever they need help.

Charlotte Gatehouse, Perinatal and Child Mental Health Visitor at Solent NHS Trust, said: “Family Assist Solent offers an opportunity to improve care by providing discreet, accessible information and connection to services as early as possible; raise awareness of mental health challenges and available support with the aim of breaking stigma and empowering parents to reach out and participate in decisions about their care.

Last year, Solent NHS Trust became the first trust in the country to set up a personal health record system to support an integrated approach to remote delivery of sexual health services.

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