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Nurse home-visitation program supports new mothers, improves outcomes for local children
Contact:Lynne Easterly, RN, BSNSupervisor, Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership970-668-9711, Lynne.Easterly@SummitCountyCO.gov
FRISCO - Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership marked its 15th anniversary today, celebrating a major milestone for a program that has helped transform the lives of more than 1,000 women and children in mountain communities in and around Summit County.
Nurse –Family Partnership (NFP) is a voluntary community-health program that provides nurse home-visitation services to low-income, first-time mothers. Nurses begin home visits early in the mother’s pregnancy and continue visitation until the child’s second birthday. Nurses provide support, education and counseling on health, behavioral and self-sufficiency issues.
“Since 2001, NFP nurses have been getting out into our community, helping local women and children during this critical time in their lives,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Those first few steps into motherhood can be overwhelming at times, so it’s an amazing opportunity for new moms to have an expert there to answer questions and provide support.”
Nurse-Family Partnership is a statewide initiative, serving families in 61 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Independent research has shown that every dollar invested in Nurse-Family Partnership can yield more than five dollars in return.
Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership is administered by Summit County Public Health. When the program began, it served Summit, Lake, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties. It has since expanded into Grand, Chaffee and Park counties. The program serves 145 families and is staffed by eight nurse home visitors. It is funded through the State of Colorado Tobacco Master Settlement funds.
“We start working with a client while she’s pregnant, talking about things like healthy weight gain, fetal brain development, nutrition and exercise – strategies that will improve pregnancy outcomes,” said Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership Supervisor Lynne Easterly. “The relationship continues right along after the birth of the child, and we’re offering support and coaching related to economic self-sufficiency, parenting skills and child health and development.”
NFP is one of the most rigorously tested programs of its kind. Randomized controlled trials conducted over the last 35 years have shown positive, multi-generational outcomes for families and their communities. Mothers and children who have participated in the program have consistently demonstrated significantly improved prenatal health, fewer subsequent pregnancies, increased maternal employment, improved child school readiness, reduced involvement in crime and fewer childhood injuries.
“While working with their nurse home visitors, these women are setting life goals for themselves and learning the skills they need to achieve them,” Easterly said. “This program changes life trajectories for both mother and child, benefiting the entire family, and strengthening the larger community.”
Nurse-Family Partnership Goals 1. Improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, including thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diets and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances.
2. Improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care.
3. Improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and find work.
Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership Client Profile at Intake:
Outcomes for Intermountain Nurse-Family Partnership Clients
About Nurse-Family PartnershipIn Colorado, Nurse-Family Partnership is managed by a four-part team that includes the Colorado Department of Human Services; National Center for Children, Families & Communities, College of Nursing, University of Colorado Denver; the NFP National Service Office; and Invest in Kids. Beginning in 1999, Invest in Kids met with numerous Colorado legislators to explain the importance and effectiveness of the program. As a result, the Colorado General Assembly passed the Nurse Home Visitor Act in the 2000 legislative session. The act allocates a portion of Colorado’s share of the Tobacco Settlement proceeds to NFP each year. The funding for the program is supplemented with a federal Medicaid match.
The Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office (www.nursefamilypartnership.org) is committed to producing enduring improvements in the health and well-being of low-income, first-time parents and their children by helping communities implement and sustain an evidence-based public health program of home visiting by registered nurses. Nurse-Family Partnership Service Office is headquartered in Denver.