Nurse home visiting (NHV) may redress inequities in children’s health and development evident by school entry. We tested the effectiveness of an Australian NHV program (right@home), offered to pregnant women experiencing adversity, hypothesizing improvements in (1) parent care, (2) responsivity, and (3) the home learning environment at child age 2 years.
A randomized controlled trial of NHV delivered via universal child and family health services was conducted. Pregnant women experiencing adversity (≥2 of 10 risk factors) with sufficient English proficiency were recruited from antenatal clinics at 10 hospitals across 2 states. The intervention comprised 25 nurse visits to child age 2 years. Researchers blinded to randomization assessed 13 primary outcomes, including Home Observation of the Environment (HOME) Inventory (6 subscales) and 25 secondary outcomes.
Of 1427 eligible women, 722 (50.6%) were randomly assigned; 306 of 363 (84%) women in the intervention and 290 of 359 (81%) women in the control group provided 2-year data. Compared with women in the control group, those in the intervention reported more regular child bedtimes (adjusted odds ratio 1.76; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.25 to 2.48), increased safety (adjusted mean difference [AMD] 0.22; 95% CI 0.07 to 0.37), increased warm parenting (AMD 0.09; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.16), less hostile parenting (reverse scored; AMD 0.29; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.41), increased HOME parental involvement (AMD 0.26; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.38), and increased HOME variety in experience (AMD 0.20; 95% CI 0.07 to 0.34).
The right@home program improved parenting and home environment determinants of children’s health and development. With replicability possible at scale, it could be integrated into Australian child and family health services or trialed in countries with similar child health services.