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Home visits lessen emergency care for infants
Date:11/1/2013

nty Health Department and the Center for Child and Family Health. A nurse visits new parents soon after their newborn comes home from the hospital, checks the mother's and baby's health, and offers the parents tips on topics such as breastfeeding and child care. Nurses also screen for potential problems such as maternal depression.

But the nurses are not primarily caseworkers. Instead, they serve to link families who need help with appropriate community services over a series of one to three home visits.

To gauge the program's effects, the Duke research team designed a study that divided into two groups all of the 4,777 babies born in Durham County between July 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. Those born on even dates were offered the program, while those born on odd dates were not. The authors then analyzed medical records for a random subsample of those families.

In addition to an overall reduction in emergency care episodes, the authors found that all the subgroups studied saw a decrease in use of emergency care. While some groups benefited more than others, the pattern held true for both single- and two-parent families, for families receiving Medicaid and for privately insured families.

"High-risk families were not the only ones who benefited," Goodman said. "All families benefitted. It was great to have this kind of finding almost a full year after the program was implemented."


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Contact: Alison Jones
Alison.jones@duke.edu
919-681-8504
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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