Jefferson County, Lutheran Partnership Supports Families With Newborns
Being a new parent is a lot of work. Bringing your newborn home from the hospital can be both exciting and overwhelming. Families in Jefferson County now have a new, free resource to support them through the many joys and challenges of welcoming a new baby. This program, Family Connects, connects all new parents with a highly-trained registered nurse at no cost. Unlike the traditional post-birth experience, Family Connects nurses visit the family in their home to support everyone’s health and wellbeing in the household.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) and Lutheran Medical Center, part of Intermountain Health, are proud to be a part of the Family Connects pilot program in Colorado, along with Boulder, Eagle, and Denver counties. Families who deliver at Lutheran are contacted at the hospital to schedule a home visit or can schedule on their own online. Family Connects is a natural complement and an important addition to JCPH’s suite of nurse-home visitation programs and other family health support services.
“It’s great to have a program that focuses on the mother,” said Amanda McCoy, a family ambassador with the Family Connects program. “Up to delivery it’s all about you, and then as soon as the baby is born, it’s all about them and you are left reeling. Family Connects is exactly what I needed, a program that focuses on the mother as well as the baby and helps you understand what is normal to experience as a parent.”
Nearly all parents need help with a new baby. In fact, 95% of parents said that they needed support after their babies were born, but couldn’t find it. Family Connects aims to help fill that gap. Early studies of Family Connects show that participation is associated with powerful positive outcomes, including:
- 50% fewer emergency room visits and hospital stays for infants.
- 28% less reported anxiety by mothers.
- More positive parenting behaviors.
- Improved home environments and home safety.
- Increased community connections.
- Higher quality childcare choices.
- 89% reduction in racial disparity for mental health anxiety disorders for children 6 months of age.
- 14% reduction in racial disparity for emergency medical health needs.
- 28% and 57% reduction in racial disparity for child welfare system involvement.
“Our commitment lies in assisting all families with a newborn by ensuring that they have access to in home healthcare support upon returning home from the hospital,” said Chuck Ault, Community Health Manager for Intermountain Health. “This program is entirely voluntary and offers an opportunity for all families to achieve equitable health outcomes for their newborn and families. Finding the right support is important for not just your baby, but also you and your family in the early months and years of life.”
“When the youngest among us thrive, we all do. Everyone in the community has a responsibility to help our children get off to the best start possible,” said Alix Hopkins, Family Services Director at JCPH. “The Family Connects nurses provide a warm hand-off to existing service providers in the county to ensure that the families are getting what they need.”
In addition to the emotional, social, and familial benefits, the Family Connects model is offered at no cost to families and allows the health system to deliver the most appropriate care to families in the most affordable and convenient setting possible.
“Championing initiatives that promote parent’s mental well-being in order to build strong family foundations is important. It improves the child’s resilience and whole health, giving them greater possibilities for success and happiness as they grow,” Hopkins said. The Family Connects approach has been shown to have a positive impact on families and JCPH is thrilled and privileged to help bring it to our community.”
To learn more about Family Connects, including how to participate as a new parent, please visit the Family Connects Colorado website.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health.