Northwest Colorado Well being: Nurse-family partnership program helps households thrive
The Nurse-Family Partnership program gives first mothers access to personalized home care support to give their baby a healthier start from pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. (Courtesy photo)
Being a first time mom is a lot to tackle. Having a personal nurse to help answer questions, provide advice, and make healthy decisions has been shown to help new mothers become relaxed and confident parents.
Nurse-Family Partnership is a free program offered by Northwest Colorado Health that helps women who are pregnant with their first child and are financially qualified become the best mom she can be. Every woman-to-be connects with her own personal nurse who will accompany her throughout pregnancy through her child’s second birthday to help her achieve her goals and give her child a healthier start.
According to Natalie Brooks, a nursing home visitor to Northwest Colorado Health’s NFP program, the best part of being a nurse with NFP is long-term interaction with mothers and the opportunity to develop relationships with clients over two years. “The transition to parenting is such a transformative time and I am happy to be able to witness this journey with my clients. In healthcare, we often only see people for a snapshot; With NFP we see our customers regularly and deepen our understanding of their values and aspirations. “
As a visiting program for home nurses, COVID-19 required NFP nurses to switch quickly in order to continue to be in virtual contact with families during the pandemic.
“Being able to connect with my customers was an immediate challenge, especially in a rural area where phone and Internet access are not necessarily readily or continuously available to these mothers,” said Brooks. “The pandemic has exacerbated the social inequalities and infrastructural inequalities that we have observed across the country. Access to health care was no exception and we had to adapt quickly to fill the gap in order to use telemedicine. “
“For everyday nurses, we had to adjust to learning new technologies and strategies to get the most out of video and telemedicine,” said Brooks. “The challenges of the pandemic were greater than us, and overcoming them required a great deal of generosity and grace at all levels. Our customers were patient, our organization supported them, and we received generous financial support to fill the technology gaps. “
After more than a year of virtual on-site support for expectant mothers, Northwest Colorado Health is celebrating the return of face-to-face visits for nurses and nurse-family partnership program participants.
There are currently 36 families in the Nurse-Family Partnership at Northwest Colorado Health in the counties of Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson. Each of NFP’s expertly trained nurses guides the expectant woman in improving her prenatal care – helping the new mom have a healthy pregnancy, improve childbirth outcomes, and improve the health and development of her child.
The nurse also supports the new mother in becoming economically independent – and encourages her to continue going to school and pursue her professional goals. By strengthening families, the Nurse-Family Partnership triggers cross-generational change and helps break cycles of poverty.
“Nurse-Family Partnership changes the lives of children and families permanently. It saves money and communities are healthier and stronger for generations to come, ”said Susan Madigan, NFP supervisor at Northwest Colorado Health.
Over 40 years of evidence shows that a nurse-family partnership improves birth outcomes, child development and school readiness, including reducing child abuse, neglect and juvenile delinquency.
Expectant women can contact Nurse-Family Partnership to see if they qualify for this program by visiting northwestcoloradohealth.org/nfp or by calling 970-871-7686.
Jaclyn McDonald is the Marketing Coordinator at Northwest Colorado Health. She can be reached at [email protected] or 970-871-7642.