Home Nurse Visits Shown to Improve Child and Family Health

Home Nurse Visits Shown to Improve Child and Family Health

Home Nurse Visits Shown to Improve Child and Family Health

A new study published by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest pediatric hospital, shows that in home visits by a trained nurse during the first two years after a mother’s first pregnancy drastically reduces the chance for a rapid second pregnancy. Spacing between pregnancies improves the health of a mother, puts less strain on the financial well-being of a low-income family and lessens the strain on the first child.

Pennsylvania has administered a program pairing nurses trained through the Nurse-Family Partnership Association with low-income families in both rural and urban areas for nearly a decade. While improved outcomes were seen in all groups, young mothers below 18 years old and those in the lowest income categories saw the most improvement. Nearly 4,000 clients across Pennsylvania were reviewed from 2000 to 2007.

Regular home visits help young mothers feel supported and helps teach them the proper care of their children without requiring them to travel, which can be difficult in remote rural areas. Studies have shown that families supported in this way reduced their dependence on assistance programs like food stamps and welfare. Antisocial behavior in the children of these mothers was also greatly reduced.

The first three years of the study showed little effect, but families with infants born after 2003 had far fewer second pregnancies during their following two years of care. This rate was the lowest among mothers younger than 18, who can be at the highest health and financial risk from an immediate second pregnancy. The Nurse-Family Partnership operates in 32 states and serves over 22,000 families to help support the growth and care of newly born children and lower the family’s dependency on assistance. The administrators of the group believe that their impact in other states has been similar to the results found by this study of Pennsylvania families.


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