Family home visiting outcomes for mothers with and without intellectual disabilities

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2011 May;55(5):484-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01402.x. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes of public health nurse home visiting for mothers with intellectual disabilities (ID) and a comparison group.

Methods: The study was a secondary analysis of existing de-identified family home visiting data. It used a two-group comparative, 1:3 match design. Sixty-eight clients were in the study (n = 17 for mothers with ID and n = 51 for mothers without ID). Client characteristics and problem prevalence were compared using standard descriptive and inferential statistics. Mixed model methods were used for the analysis of outcomes, accounting for baseline scores, time of services and matched cases.

Results: Mothers with and without ID showed statistically significant improvement following family home visiting services. For both groups, discharge scores were consistently higher than the corresponding admission scores, with a mean increase of 0.37 (range = 0.05-0.90). Mothers without ID attained higher outcomes than mothers with ID. Seven of 21 outcomes significantly improved for mothers with ID, and 10 of 21 for the comparison group. The percentage of mothers with ID attaining the benchmark of 4 ranged from 13.3% to 90.4% and for the comparison group ranged from 30% to 95.7%. Public health nurses addressed 15 environmental, psychosocial, physiological and behavioural problems for both groups.

Conclusion: Family home visiting appears to be effective in assisting parents with ID to have improved outcomes in many domains. These results provide an opportunity for service providers, home visiting nurses and public health agencies to understand the unique needs of mothers with ID.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Rearing / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • House Calls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Maternal Welfare / psychology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Public Health Nursing / methods*
  • Public Health Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult