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New Mothers Benefit From In-home Nursing Support

Family Connects Guilford, Guilford County Health Department

To ensure that all mothers living in priority areas of High Point and neighboring communities are visited by a Registered Nurse soon after the birth of a baby, The Foundation for a Healthy High Point provides funding to support the Guilford County Health Department’s Family Connects Guilford program (FCG)—an evidence-based home-visitation program replicating the national model developed by the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

With a dedicated full-time nurse and Spanish-language interpreter, FCG provides home visits to mothers and their newborn babies in High Point, Jamestown, Archdale, and Trinity, focusing on physical and mental wellness, maternal capacity for proper infant care, and referral for family support.

Studies show in some neighborhoods, social and racial disparities present challenges that can have a negative impact on short- and long-term health of mothers and their babies. Additionally, children living in poverty experience a higher incidence of neglect, emotional/physical abuse, and mental health issues impacting future educational and occupational attainment.

Since 2016, thanks to FCG, a Registered Nurse contacts every mother who has a newborn baby in neighborhoods where issues such as transportation, childcare, food insecurity, and language barriers might interfere with health and healthy development. Nurse visits consist of a physical exam of mother and baby, assessments of the family and home environment, and screenings for depression, substance abuse, or relationship violence.  Visits often include referrals to other community resources.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program pivoted from home visits to tele-health assessments, conducted as phone or video calls with the nurse following up by email or text.  Mothers indicated high satisfaction with tele-health engagement.

By providing a support system to new mothers who may lack dependable sources of connection, FCG nurses not only conduct health assessments but also offer mothers simple tips for newborn care that can make a critical difference, often preventing emergency visits to healthcare providers.

Since 2016, FCG nurses have completed visits with 1,765 families living in under-served areas of Greater High Point while completing nearly 1,500 referrals to community partners and health professionals to meet family needs. Data from previous studies show that Family Connects reduces the number of emergency room visits and hospital overnight stays by 50% in the first year of life. Mothers and families who received an in-home nurse visit were 30% less likely to experience postpartum depression and had 44% lower rates of Child Protective Service investigations.

As part of a comprehensive effort to improve health outcomes for Guilford County children and families, the FCG program coordinates with Nurse-Family Partnership and HealthySteps to prevent overlaps in services.  The program also collaborates with Women, Infant and Children (WIC), Care Management for At Risk Children (CMARC), Care Management for High-Risk Pregnancy (CMHRP), the Local Interagency Coordinating Council, NICU Discharge Planning, Infant Mortality Coalition, United Way of High Point’s Children Initiative, and other community agencies.

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