The Role of the Mch Nurse Working in Partnership with the Family to Care for a Child with a Diagnosed Developmental Delay

The role of the MCH nurse working in partnership with the family to care for a child with a diagnosed developmental delay


Monitoring the growth and development of children at regular intervals allows for the early detection of developmental delay. [ji1] One of the key aims of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) nursing [ji2] practice is the early detection and the referral of children with a developmental delay. In the transition from suspicion and concerns about their child’s development, to the confirmation of the diagnosis of developmental delay, the lived experience for the family takes on a whole new chapter. [ji3] This is unique to each family situation, although there are common elements shared to varying degrees by families. Depending on the degree of severity and permanence of the developmental delay, [ji4] families may face a rollercoaster journey of therapies, testing and appointments. Families may also face the loss of the sense of normality of their child eventually growing into an independent adult, as well as mounting financial burdens. In the context of the impact on the family, this essay explores the question of what happens following a diagnosis of developmental delay[ji5] . MCH nursing practice has a role to play in supporting families beyond the diagnosis. [ji6]

Developmental delay is discussed generally rather than with reference to a specific type of delay, and the role of the MCH nurse (MCHN) in the care of the child is critically analysed along the spectrum of working in an expert role to working in partnership with the family. While it is acknowledged that in the broad range of developmental delay there are children with minor transient delays that may only have minimal impact on families, analysis of the MCHN role is in the context of more major persistent delay where there is significant impact on the family.[ji7]

[ji1]The first sentence introduces the topic of ‘developmental delay’

[ji2]The topic is being...