This study explores the relationship between mother and health visitor through their perceptions of a home visit. The aims are to describe the interaction on a routine home visit, compare the perceptions of the participants, and explore their contrasting views. Through this exploration the worth of home visits is demonstrated.
The theoretical framework was based in thnomethodology, and multiple methods of data collection provided complementary data.
Fifteen volunteer health visitors carried out a routine home visit to three
primiparous mothers, with babies aged 2 to 6 months. This visit was tape recorded. Both client and health visitor were interviewed by the researcher, and were asked to complete a short questionnaire after the visit.
There was a similarity of views about the visit and their relationship. Both participants judged a successful visit in terms of the client's response and satisfaction.
To the health visitors, a good relationship was not necessary to carry out their work. To the clients, however, a good relationship was of prime importance. A non-authoritarian approach was much preferred.
The interaction revealed a number of verbal strategies whereby the participants guided the interaction. Satisfaction does not depend on having similar aims and priorities for the visit. The health visitors, while possessing more power
than they think they halve, use many strategies to ensure acceptability.
The home visit is demonstrated as an interaction of some complexity, providing boundless possibilities for the exchange of information, with the client very much an
The research ends with recommendations for management, education, and practice, one of which is the use of a health visitor / client contract, which might
effectively explain the service offered, and assist in forming good relationships.