Places to conduct counselling
Home visits can become one of the best opportunities for counselling with individuals and with their families. Health workers will be able to visit all homes in their communities regularly, especially if there are significant problems that have been identified.
Home visits are important to understand the real background of families, their living conditions and the environment in which they live (Box 11.4).
Box 11.4 The purpose of home visits
- Establish rapport — make and keep good relationship with families in the community
- Detect and try to improve troublesome situations at an early stage
- Follow-up opportunities — checking the progression of sick people
- Educate the family on how to help a sick person
- Observe the environment and the behaviours that affect the health of the family
- Identify barriers to possible behavioural change
- Provide health education whenever possible
- Inform people about important community events in which their participation is needed.
- Appreciate the fact that people may feel free to talk more openly with health providers when they are in their own homes.
Look at the list in Box 11.4 again and think carefully about why you think home visits are so useful. Pick out one point on the list which you think is particularly linked with the home environment.
Point 5 is very important. In someone's house you can see how they live. As a Health Extension Practitioner you can observe people and what the factors in their home life are. Clearly point 9 is also very important. When people are in their own home they will feel more secure. People are usually more willing to talk when they are in their own homes than when they are at the clinic. At the clinic they may fear that other people will see them or overhear the discussion. They may be more honest and disclose more at home, because they feel safer. Nutrition demonstrations, for example, may be more useful if done in a person's own home. There the health worker will be able to use the materials and facilities that the person will be familiar with. This will make the demonstration more realistic and make their learning more effective (Figure 11.4).