Public Health Heroes: Maternal and Infant Care Program’s Nurse Family Partnership
Friday Feb 23rd, 2018
The Health Department’s Maternal and Infant Care program (M&I), operates the national Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) home visiting model to help low-income, first-time mothers have healthy pregnancies and successful birth and aftercare outcomes. Home visiting is one aspect of B’more for Healthy Babies, a ground-breaking initiative that supports mothers, babies, and families from preconception to age three.
The M&I program aims to improve the health of pregnant women and their children, and to support the self-sufficiency of program participants. Each client is assigned a licensed nurse who gives in-home aid from the start of the client’s pregnancy until their child is two-years-old. The team currently consists of five nurses who can each see between 25 and 30 families.
“Each nurse is to follow 25 to 30 families from pregnancy through age two. During any given year, we are following about 100 families. Our numbers are small, but our impact is huge on the families that we serve”, said M&I Operations Director Stacey Tuck.
Last fiscal year, the team only had four nurses on staff. However, they managed to conduct approximately 1,100 visits. Moreover, M&I NFP client outcomes were among the best in Maryland: 77 percent of clients took their children to doctor’s appointments on time, breastfeeding rates were double those of other home visiting programs across the state, and 98 percent of clients received mental health screenings.
"We use our professional knowledge and the NFP curriculum to educate clients on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy and to ensure that clients have the knowledge and resources necessary to raise healthy children", said lactation counselor and home visiting nurse Latarsha Henderson, RN.
The program also occasionally invites guest speakers to engage with the participants. Upon completion of the program, the mothers are celebrated with a graduation ceremony.
"NFP graduation provides our clients with the opportunity to meet one another and establish new friendships”, said Henderson. “It felt great to celebrate the clients and congratulate them on completing the program and transitioning to the next stage of their lives."
The program is part of a larger, city-wide home visiting strategy for improving maternal and infant health. The strategy includes a robust central referral system and other evidence-based home visiting programs managed through a partnership with Family League of Baltimore and other implementing organizations.
For more information on the program and eligibility requirements, click here.