A new program offers new parents a helping hand in the first few months of their children’s lives. Thirty-thousand thousand families have welcomed registered nurses into their homes, as part of the Family Connects Program. Advocates say it’s lowering health-care costs and raising parent confidence.
Nurse Jenny Jenson is delivering some extra care right to 5 month old Cora’s doorstep. She’s tracking pounds and inches, along with the parents’ stress levels. Before they leave the hospital, new parents like Zawadi and Damon Walker are offered two free home checkups The first visit comes a few weeks after birth.
In addition to organizing feeding and sleeping schedules, the nurses address safety conditions in the home, working with the pediatrician if there are health concerns. The nurses help parents find daycare, government benefits–even the safest car seat for their baby.
For every dollar spent, it’s estimated $3 in health care costs are saved. Emergency visits among family connects babies were cut in half. Duke University’s Kenneth Dodge developed Family Connects.
He says, “In the long run, we found important outcomes, such as, lower child abuse rates and lower health care costs for emergency room visits for injuries and illnesses.
Sixteen communities have sent nurses to be trained in the program and 14 more sites are being added soon.