Vulnerable Pregnant Moms to Benefit from High-Impact Interventions

Nov 29, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. – Some of Spokane’s most at-risk families will receive extra one-on-one support thanks to a research trial that Spokane Regional Health District’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) recently joined. 

NFP, a voluntary prevention program, historically offered its home visiting services to vulnerable women only during their first pregnancies. Participation in the research trial expands the program’s capacity to pair registered nurses with pregnant women at high risk for poor outcomes associated with birth, parenting or child development, regardless if it is a subsequent pregnancy.

“When you consider that NFP is an evidence-based program that consistently demonstrates outcomes like less child abuse, neglect and injuries, it makes perfect sense that these services be expanded to more of the families who need them most,” said Susan Schultz, NFP manager. “Especially at a time when the health district just verified over 50,000 incidents of child abuse in the county in the past decade.”

The health district is just one of a handful of sites nationally chosen to participate in the federal research trial through the Prevention Research Center at University of Colorado. The trial expands the capacity of the program, through 2019, to enroll 30 to 40 vulnerable pregnant women who have had a previous birth. The program currently has 125 first-time mothers enrolled and existing capacity to enroll 50 more first-time moms.

Specific to the research trial, program enrollment will be prioritized for pregnant women who have had a previous birth and at least one of the following risk factors: 

  • prior pre-term births
  • previous low birth weight infant
  • homelessness, mental illness, substance use, or previous or current involvement with child welfare
  • less than a high school education or GED
  • history of intimate partner violence
  • being medically complex or having a developmental disability
  • an adolescent with a subsequent pregnancy

Both types of mothers (first-time or subsequent-birth) connect to a registered nurse who provides home visits from early in pregnancy to the child’s second birthday, providing the support, advice and information needed to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  

Clients learn and practice skills that increase their confidence as a mom, like breastfeeding, nutrition, child development, safe sleep, and much more. Participants also receive referrals and assistance with health care, child care, job training and other support services available in the community. Nurses encourage the client to set goals, continue education and develop job skills.  

In addition to less child abuse, neglect, and injuries, mothers and children who participate in the program also consistently demonstrate:

  • significantly improved prenatal health
  • fewer subsequent pregnancies
  • improved school readiness
  • reduced involvement in crime
  • healthier habits including reduced smoking and alcohol use and improved diets
  • increased maternal employment and less reliance on assistance programs

“Investing in effective prevention programs such as Nurse -Family Partnership will lead to substantial cost savings over time,” said Sheila Masteller, director for the health district’s Community and Family Services division. “And as we help parents and children get off to the best start possible, the long-term impact for families and communities is even more significant.  

For families and referrers interested in program enrollment, please contact Susan Schultz, (509) 324-1658. More information can also be found at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.