Health Dept. nurse makes home visits
Jefferson County Public Health has a new nurse for its home visitation program, director Tom Machala announced last week.
Sarah Holloway, a registered nurse, moved from Denver, Colo., to Central Oregon to begin the Nurse Family Partnership program this July in Jefferson County.
An obstetrics nurse at Denver Health Medical Center serving largely low-income Hispanic residents, she wanted to broaden her experience in maternal child health and saw this position as an exciting new adventure. It also helped her husband to move closer to his Oregon-based family.
The Jefferson County Public Health Department is one of four Oregon counties selected to implement this top evidence-based community health program that helps transform the lives of vulnerable mothers pregnant with their first child.
The Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, obtained a three-year federal grant to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of NFP in Oregon along with two other home visiting programs: Early Intervention Head Start through Mid-Columbia Children's Council and Healthy Families America/Healthy Start, also part of Jefferson County Public Health Department.
Both programs are in Jefferson County, but are not part of the grant-funded programs. Other programs that provide home visiting to mothers and babies in Jefferson County are Oregon Child Development Coalition Head Start and Juniper Junction Relief Nursery, plus the Warm Springs Head Start and Community Health programs.
All these home visiting programs are now under the governor's new Early Learning Council as of July.
The grants are aimed at better coordinating the implementation of these programs, and gathering consistent evidenced-based data to evaluate their effectiveness in Oregon.
The Nurse Family Partnership for Jefferson County is run in conjunction with Deschutes and Crook County public health departments under a tri-county partnership.
The three public health departments also have other complementary nurse home visiting programs: Maternity Case Management for other pregnant moms needing assistance; Babies First, for any child and family with medical or social issues after birth; plus CaCoon for families with special needs children.
The programs integrate well with the public health WIC (Women Infant and Children) supplemental nutrition and education program for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children up to age 5.
Due to the comprehensiveness and intensity of NFP, the program is expected to serve an average each year of 25 new mothers.
"This program changes the life courses for both mothers and children, benefiting multiple generations," said, Machala.
In a 2011 study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, NFP ranked among the highest programs reviewed in terms of net benefit to society among prekindergarten, child welfare, youth development, mentoring, youth substance prevention and teen pregnancy prevention programs, with an estimated long-term return of more than $20,000 per participant, after accounting for program costs.
A Department of Health and Human Services funding review found NFP to be the only home visiting program to have a positive effect on pregnancy outcome for both the mother and baby.
It is a voluntary prevention program that provides nurse home visitation services to low-income, first-time mothers. Nurses begin home visits weekly early in the mother's pregnancy and continue until the child's second birthday. Nurses provide support, education and counseling on health, behavioral and self-sufficiency issues.