Bringing a newborn home home can be an exciting and stressful time. To help support the health and well-being of mothers, newborns, and their families, the Chicago Department of Public Health is launching a pilot program that will provide them with free nursing services.
âParenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual,â Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday at a press event in Englewood announcing the program, called Family connects to Chicago. âThis program will provide mothers and newborns with such vital support during the first weeks of a baby’s life.
The CDPH will test the program at four Chicago birthing hospitals: Norwegian American Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Bernard Hospital. Foster and adoptive parents are included in the pilot project.
Nurses will first visit families in these hospitals within 24 hours of childbirth to provide postpartum home nursing services at no additional cost. These services include mother and baby screenings, and education about newborn care, such as information on safe sleep and bath assistance. During subsequent home visits, nurses will also assess the needs of each family and connect them with additional resources and supports.
âAll parents may need a little help during this important time. Having a newborn baby can be stressful and overwhelming,â said Guadalupe Alcazar, a CRPD registered nurse who provided childcare services. family care for families with newborn babies. “My job is to make them comfortable as a parent of a newborn baby.”
Home visits are scheduled three to five weeks after a newborn returns home, which could help reduce no-show rates at follow-up appointments, says Evelyn Jones, vice president of nursing services at Saint-Bernard hospital. She also sees the potential of the program to reduce emergency room visits.
City officials estimate that more than 4,000 families will be eligible for service next year at the four pilot hospitals. The program will be evaluated with the help of UIC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health before it was extended over five years to the city’s 17 delivery hospitals, according to Dr. Allison Arwady, acting commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
âIn a city with 37,000 babies born each year, we have 37,000 opportunities to connect these families at a time when everyone needs a little helping hand,â said Arwady.
Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz | (773) 509-5452 | [emailÂ protected]
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