Q: What is Nurse-Family Partnership?
A: Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a proven public health program that can transform the life of a mother pregnant with her first child. The mothers we serve are connected with a registered nurse early in their pregnancy and receive 30 months of ongoing care that continues through their child’s second birthday. More than 37 years of independent, randomized, controlled research proves that communities also benefit. For every dollar invested in Nurse-Family Partnership, a community can see a return as much as five dollar according to the RAND Corporation.
Q: What are the goals of Nurse-Family Partnership?
A: The goals of the program are: Improve pregnancy outcomes; improve child health and development; and improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family.
The program achieves these goals by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, including obtaining thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diet, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances; child health and development is improved by helping parents provide responsible and competent care for their children; and economic self-sufficiency is improved by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and find work.
Q: How do pregnant women get help from NFP?
A: Nurse-Family Partnership focuses on low-income, first-time mothers who often may be socially isolated or experiencing severe adversity. Women voluntarily enroll as early as possible — ideally by the 16th week of pregnancy. This intensive level of support helps women prepare for the emotional, social and physical challenges they face as they prepare for a healthy birth. Prenatal support is the starting point, but the nurse continues to serve her client after she delivers her child, teaching parenting and life skills that foster positive growth for both mother and child.
Q: How does NFP work?
A: NFP nurse home visitors and their clients make a two-and-a-half year commitment to each other. Over the life of the program with each mother, a nurse plans an average of 64 visits with the mother and develop a strong, trusted relationship. This intensive level of support has been proven to improve outcomes related to: preventative health and prenatal practices for the mother, health and development education and care for both mother and child, and life coaching for the mother and her family.
Q: Why is Nurse-Family Partnership only available to first-time, low-income mothers?
A: Becoming a mother for the first time is an event associated with a large amount of change in a woman’s life. It is hypothesized that such women would be more receptive to home-visitation services than women who had already given birth. Moreover, the skills and resources these mothers develop in coping with their first pregnancies and children set a pattern for their parenting of any children they have later. In addition, generally it will be easier for women to return to school and work if they plan for and space subsequent children.
Serving low-income women allows a focus on families with limited resources who are more likely to experience increased risk factors. Each community determines their own measure of what constitutes low-income, often using the same local income guidelines as programs like WIC and Medicaid. “Proof of income” procedures, however, are discouraged as they create barriers for entry. If the client is referred by Medicaid or WIC, income status has already been ascertained.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of families a Nurse-Family Partnership nurse home visitor can serve?
A: Due to the comprehensiveness of the program model, the visit schedule, and the overall intensity of the intervention, nurse home visitors’ caseloads are capped at 25 families, which helps ensure that the program achieves the anticipated results. Experience in implementing Nurse-Family Partnership to date indicates that continuity in the relationship between the nurse home visitor and the family is a critical factor in achieving desired outcomes. This continuity is best realized when the size of the caseloads is kept within manageable limits.
Q: What is the frequency of visits and what do the visits consist of?
A: Nurse home visits are scheduled:
Weekly during the first month following enrollment;
Twice a month for the remainder of the pregnancy;
Weekly during the first six weeks after delivery;
Twice a month thereafter through the 21st month of childhood; and
Monthly until the child reaches age two.
During these visits NFP nurses follow visit guidelines which provide a comprehensive structure for working with families. The visits focus on several areas of content: personal health, environmental health, quality of care giving for the child, maternal life course development, family and friend support and health and human service utilization.