Early detection of parenting and developmental problems in toddlers: A randomized trial of home visits versus well-baby clinic visits in the Netherlands.

Staal II, van Stel HF, Hermanns JM, Schrijvers AJ.
Prev Med. 2015 Dec;81:236-42. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.09.003. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

OBJECTIVE: The early detection of parenting and developmental problems by preventive child health care (CHC) services in the Netherlands takes place almost exclusively at the well-baby clinic. This study assesses whether, compared to a visit to the well-baby clinic, a home visit improves early detection.
METHODS: 4481 eligible 18-month-old children and their parents were randomized to either a visit to the well-baby clinic or a home visit in the period from December 2006 to January 2008. A CHC nurse held structured interviews using the validated Structured Problem Analysis of Raising Kids (SPARK). Differences in the percentage of children with high or increased risks of parenting and developmental problems as assessed by the SPARK were analyzed with ordinal regression. Secondary outcomes included the percentage of parents attending, parents' concerns, needs assessment by parents and CHC professionals and user experience.
RESULTS: Response rates were 94.0% for the home visit group and 93.2% for the well-baby clinic group. Using the SPARK at home identified significantly more high-risk children compared to clinic visits (3.7 vs. 2.6%) and fewer children with increased risk (19.1 vs. 20.7%; overall p=0.028). Home visits more often involved both parents and other children. At home, parents reported more concerns. Both parents and CHC nurses more often expressed the need for support and reported significantly better experiences at home.
CONCLUSIONS: Aided by a validated structured interview, CHC professionals detect more children with high risks of parenting and child-developmental problems during home visits than during clinic visits.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: www.trialregister.nl Identifier: NTR1413.