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Review: home visiting programmes that include ⩾1 postnatal home visit are associated with improved quality of home environment and parenting

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QUESTION: Do home visiting programmes improve quality of home environment and parenting?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966 to July 1996), CINAHL (1982 to July 1996), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1980 to October 1996), and the Cochrane Library. The journal Health Visitor was handsearched (1982–97), bibliographies of relevant reviews were checked, key individuals and organisations were contacted, and advertisements were placed in relevant journals to identify unpublished studies.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies that had a control group were included if they evaluated a home visiting programme, the programme included ⩾1 postnatal home visit, the tasks undertaken in the home visit were within the practice of British health visitors (eg, social support and facilitation of mother-child interaction), and outcomes relevant to British home visiting were reported (eg, quality of home environment and parent-child interaction). …

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  • Source of funding: UK National Health Service R&D Health Technology Assessment Programme.

  • For correspondence: Dr D Kendrick, Division of General Practice, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK. Fax +44 (0)115 970 9389.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health.