Alaska Virtual Home Visiting Summit
|Alaska||Community, Rural, Urban, Home-Based||Perinatal/Infant Health, Women/Maternal Health, Family Care||Health Equity, Mental Health, Telehealth, Emergency Preparedness, Workforce Development & Leadership||4|
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shift to virtual home visitation, we recognized that is very difficult for home visitors to determine client safety and confidentiality for home visitors and promote healthy relationships. The “shelter-in-place” recommendations for communities have increased the risks for survivors of Domestic Violence (DV)/Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and their children. The lack of privacy for conversations and heightened isolation makes it difficult to assess the home environment and figure out if coercion and abuse are happening to a client. During the Alaska Home Visiting Summit, we discussed promising practices for home visitors within a virtual space by reviewing how power and control issues may look different within the ‘shelter in place’ situation and how this might prevent clients from being able to disclose abuse or reach out for help. Talking about healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to help friends and family is a strategy that builds stronger client relationships and allows survivors to hear about resources and ways to promote safety without disclosure of IPV, and we shared this intervention strategy for virtual home visitation settings for staff to use with caregivers.
We also recognized the toll COVID has had on our essential home visitors. We know that not only are they often are they lifelines for at-risk families, they themselves may also be isolated and stressed as well as experiencing vicarious trauma. The Summit also discussed healing centered engagement. A healing-centered approach is holistic involving culture, spirituality, civic action and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but rather highlights the ways in which trauma and healing are experienced collectively and healing is a process we all need.