Apr 192013
 

reflector

By Michael Abramowitz

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nurses partnering with vulnerable first-time mothers to guide them from the early weeks of pregnancy until their children are two years old are making a big difference for families in Pitt County, a former state legislator said on Thursday.

The Greater Pitt County Nurse-Family Partnership held a celebration at the Pitt County Cooperative Extension auditorium to celebrate the program’s four years of service, share success stories and create a plan for strengthening community support.

Keynote speaker former N.C. House Rep. Edith Warren said her years of service gave her the ability to recognize worthwhile public programs that warrant strong support.

“This is a well-documented program proven to make a difference in a child’s life from the beginning and develop healthier children and better learners,” Warren said.

The Nurse-Family Partnership is a national nonprofit, evidence-based community health program, coordinated locally through the Pitt County Health Department. It provides agencies with the specialized expertise and support needed to deliver care with fidelity to the successful model, allowing each community to see comparable outcomes, Chris Bishop, NFP eastern region program developer, said.

“The fact that this program is evidence-based makes it a sure thing for communities,” Bishop said. “It’s worth the investment because over 35 years of research and results prove that it works.

“Being in a community with an amazing research institution like East Carolina University, a strong business community and engaged local leaders has been extremely beneficial for Nurse-Family Partnership in Pitt County,” Bishop said.

Registered nurses make ongoing home visits to low-income, first-time mothers and provide care and support for a healthy pregnancy, teach responsible and competent child care and help moms become more economically self-sufficient, nurse supervisor and county NFP director Nancy Stone said.

“Nurse home visitors form a much-needed, trusting relationship with the first-time moms, instilling confidence and empowering them to achieve a better life for their children and themselves,” Stone said.

In the four years since the program began, the partnership has served 279 families and welcomed 151 babies.

Warren said the results are clear and the evidence backs it up, two important factors for gaining public and private support.

“We have been smart enough to know that you must provide the kinds of programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership that are going to make such a difference,” Warren, a retired teacher, said.

NFP outcomes include long-term family improvements in health, education, and economic self-sufficiency. Data indicate that Pitt County clients are achieving the program’s three main goals of improving maternal health, promoting healthy child development and improving the economic self-sufficiency of the family. Initial results include show that 100 percent of children served are current with their immunizations at age 2 and NFP reduced smoking among the mothers it serves by 38 percent.

Vashti Kittrell, chair of the Pitt County NFP Community Advisory Board, told attendees that the program is an investment in the future of the county.

“In addition to positive health results, research shows that this program also provides returns of nearly $6 for every dollar invested in the program,” Kittrell said.

By helping to break the cycle of poverty, Nurse-Family Partnership plays an important role in improving the lives of society’s most vulnerable members, build stronger communities, and leave a positive effect on this and future generations, Stone said.

The program is supported statewide by a public-private partnership that includes The Duke Endowment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.

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