Public health nurses tailor interventions for families at risk

Public Health Nurs. 2011 Mar-Apr;28(2):119-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2010.00911.x. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Objectives: To use structured clinical data from public health nurse (PHN) documentation to describe client risk, to describe family home visiting interventions, including tailoring, and to assess the associations between client risk and intervention tailoring.

Design and sample: Retrospective cohort design. A cohort of 486 family home visiting clients who received at least 3 visits from PHNs in a local Midwest public health agency (2000-2005).

Measures: Omaha System variables documenting assessments, interventions, and outcomes. A risk index was created to identify low- and high-risk clients. Descriptive and inferential methods were used to describe interventions, and to assess intervention tailoring between groups.

Intervention: Routine PHN family home visiting practice.

Results: The risk index meaningfully discriminated between groups. PHNs provided more visits and interventions to clients in the high-risk group, with variations in problem, category, and target by group, demonstrating that PHNs tailored interventions to address specific client needs.

Conclusions: Standardized terminologies and structured clinical data are useful tools to support PHN practice, and may be useful to advance health care quality research, program evaluation, policy development, and population health outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status Indicators
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health Nursing / methods*
  • Public Health Nursing / standards
  • Public Health Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health Practice / standards
  • Public Health Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult