Results of the family centre questionnaire: ease and meeting other people most important
In the future, all of the services promoting the wellbeing, health, growth and development of children and families as well as early support and care services will be offered by the family centres of Western Uusimaa. We asked for your wishes concerning services in the summer. Easy and quick access to services, smooth cooperation, peer support and meeting other people were emphasised among the responses. Thank you for your input – we would like to hear from you in the future, as well!
We received 438 responses from Western Uusimaa residents to the questionnaire on family centres. Project Managers Piia-Mari Söyrilä and Hanna Lehtinen, who are in charge of developing the services offered by family centres, are pleased with the number of responses and the valuable feedback.
“A big thank you to everyone. We are currently developing the services and utilising the wishes mentioned in the questionnaire in our work. Your responses will be heard,” Lehtinen says.
The responses highlighted the following, in particular:
- quick and easy access to services
- smooth cooperation between various professionals
- more peer support and meetings with other people.
Being heard is very important
Elisa lives in Vihti with her two small children. She says that she has been able to access services and get help easily whenever she has needed to.
“It feels good. Of course there is some queueing everywhere. I had a high-risk pregnancy and I was able to access extra services without having to ‘fight’ for them. I received the help I needed and I was not left alone with my issues,” Elisa says.
Eighty per cent of the respondents felt that the most important thing about the family centre was the employees’ ability to meet the family. Elisa feels the same. She thinks that the most important aspect of working with families with children is to meet the customer and listen to them even if the issue itself could not be resolved immediately or there were no appointments available.
“When you’re home with small children and you run out of energy, it is essential to be able to communicate your issues and find the strength to do something about them. It is very important to be heard,” Elisa says.
You can and should ask for help with all kinds of issues, preferably sooner rather than later.
Peer support is important to parents
Elisa also has some important development ideas from the point of view of a family with children: Many mothers spend lots of time home alone without adult company after giving birth, and this also goes for fathers when it is their turn to stay home. Municipalities could be even more active in offering chances to meet others in this phase of life and communicating these efforts.
“It can be miserable being alone with no adult company or peer support. Setting up meetings does not require a lot of effort: maybe some time from one employee, some coffee and biscuits, for example. This might also help new residents with finding networks,” Elisa says.
“The resident questionnaire also highlighted the need for easy access to peer support and meetings with other residents,” Piia-Mari Söyrilä says.
However, there sometimes aren’t enough participants for the current peer support groups. Söyrilä thinks that what is on offer does not quite match what is wanted at the moment.
Hanna Lehtinen suggests that the Western Uusimaa joint services and electronic tools could possibly help. She gives an example: “If there aren’t enough participants in Espoo, parents of special needs children from Hanko and Kauniainen could meet on video to get peer support this way.”
Video meetings commonplace
According to the responses to the questionnaire, some of the most important local services of family centres include the child and maternity clinic as well as school and student health care. Local services refer to services at a reasonable distance. The average answer to the question “what is the longest journey your family could travel to access services” was eight kilometres.
According to Elisa, families with children value the accessibility of services. Indeed, her only challenges have been related to distances and travel.
“We don’t all have two cars, and the other parent may need the family’s only vehicle for work. Public transport is cumbersome sometimes. I needed to jump through some hoops to be able to treat my gestational diabetes in the middle of workdays. Maybe some of the services could be mobile,” Elisa says.
Sixty-four per cent of respondents said that they could utilise remote services. Elisa also had a positive approach to video meetings and feels that they have become a natural part of life.
“I could definitely utilise remote services, if there is no need to meet in person. People are already used to working with remote tools.”
Share your thoughts in the future, too
We would like to hear from you going forward, as well. Come along and influence the planning of family centre services!
- Wellbeing Services County