Improving interagency service integration of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program for First Nations women and babies: A qualitative study

Luciana Massi, Sophie Hickey, Sarah Jade Maidment, Yvette Roe, Sue Kildea, Carmel Nelson, Sue Kruske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program is an evidence-based, home visiting program that offers health education, guidance, social and emotional support to first-time mothers having Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) babies. The community-controlled sector identified the need for specialised support for first time mothers due to the inequalities in birthing and early childhood outcomes between First Nations’ and other babies in Australia. The program is based on the United States’ Nurse  Family Partnership program which has improved long-term health outcomes and life trajectories for mothers and children. International implementation of the Nurse Family Partnership Program has identified interagency service integration as key to program recruitment, retention, and efficacy. How the ANFPP integrates with other services in an Australian urban setting and how to improve this is not yet known. Our research explores the barriers and enablers to interagency service integration for the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program in an urban setting.

Methods: A qualitative study using individual and group interviews. Purposive and snowball sampling was used to recruit clients, staff (internal and external to the program), Elders and family members. Interviews were conducted using a culturally appropriate ‘yarning’ method with clients, families and Elders and semi-structured interview guide for staff. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed prior to reflexive thematic analysis.

Results: Seventy-six participants were interviewed: 26 clients, 47 staff and 3 Elders/family members. Three themes were identified as barriers and three as enablers. Barriers: 1) confusion around program scope, 2) duplication of care, and 3) tensions over ‘ownership’ of clients. Enablers (existing and potential): 1) knowledge and promotion of the program; 2) cultural safety; and 3) case coordination, co-location and partnership forums.

Conclusion: Effective service integration is essential to maximise access and acceptability of the ANFPP; we provide practical recommendations to improve service integration in this context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number212
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving interagency service integration of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program for First Nations women and babies: A qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this