Infant sleep training for Victoria’s parenting workforce

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) and Tweddle are thrilled to announce a key partnership made possible with thanks to a significant investment from the Victorian Government. The partnership will see over 2000 of Victoria’s nursing, parenting and health practitioners trained in the latest evidence based approaches to sleep and settling.

Victoria’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nurse Workforce, Aboriginal Health workers, Allied Health professionals, MCH students and clinical staff working in Early Parenting Centres will all undertake this investment in training.

The Centre will develop and support an e-learning course based on the content materials provided by Tweddle and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The training will incorporate evidence based, online training and face-to-face facilitated workshops.

Tweddle CEO Jacquie O’Brien said Tweddle clinicians were looking forward to continuing to work alongside Victoria’s Maternal and Child Health Workforce. “We are delighted to be a part of this important partnership. Tweddle has over 100 years’ experience working in partnership with the MCH workforce and is synonymous with sleep and settling education, from our inception in 1920 through to today.”

“Global studies highlight the critical and positive role of infant sleep in a child’s cognition and physical growth. Parents need an approach they can trust. In our work, we know that sleep and settling concerns are common issues affecting families with children aged from birth to school age” she said.

Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris expressed her enthusiasm about this partnership, “We are also thrilled to be part of this initiative, working together with Tweddle, the department and Victoria’s nursing, health and parenting practitioners, who do such an amazing job with families”, she said. “We have a long history of collaboration in significant projects like this which support evidence-informed approaches for babies and their families.”

DHHS developed the new evidenced-informed sleep and settling fact sheets to support parents and caregivers. The guidelines were developed in consultation with a Maternal and Child Health advisory group and consultants from KPMG.

Jacquie highlighted that the Victorian Government investment was recognising the importance of sleep for a child’s long-term development and for the wellbeing of families. The training will also provide additional support for Victorian families through the “More help for new Victorian mums and dads” initiative.

Director of Clinical Services/Nursing, Ms Kirsty Evans noted that the partnership shared a commitment to evidence based practice, was child focussed and prioritised strong family relationships and child/parent attachment. “The best outcomes for families is at the centre of the partnership,” she said.

Sleep problems, including problems at bedtime and frequent night waking, affect 30%–40% of infants and children before school age. Effects of sleep disorders on the health of the child may include poor growth, adverse behavioural and learning effects and, for the child and family, worsened mental health, and poor quality of life.

Infants with persistent severe sleep problems are more likely to experience mental health difficulties than settled infants, at ages 4 and 10. Families reporting persistent infant sleep problems require enhanced support.

Ms Evans reflected on the many thousands of nurses who have trained at Tweddle, an accredited public hospital, and the families that have placed trust in Tweddle to help support their sleep and settling journey throughout its hundred year history.

“Tweddle was Victoria’s first School of Mothercraft Nursing, providing hospital-based training for Maternal and Child Health Nurses (M&CHNs) since 1924 until training moved to universities in the late 1970s and 1980s” she said.

Tweddle and the Centre have extensive knowledge of the broader reform context in Victoria as this affects the M&CHN service. Tweddle acknowledges DHHS for the opportunity to build on decades of professional development and training for the benefit of Victorian babies, toddlers and their families.

The Tweddle and Centre partnership anchors the project with the significant experience, historical relationships and depth of knowledge critical to delivering successful outcomes for the MCHN workforce and families across Victoria.

For media enquiries contact Kerrie Gottliebsen 0412 145 070 or Kerrie.gottliebsen@tweddle.org.au

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