Do you know someone pregnant with their first child? SIU Medicine is offering free personal nurses to qualifying families through Nurse-Family Partnership of Sangamon County.
Registered nurses are available to provide support, advice and information to first-time parents to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby, while learning how to become great parents. Nurses regularly visit the new families starting early in the pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.
Nurse-Family Partnership is a national, evidence-based program model locally funded through the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, private donations to the SIU Foundation, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, and a grant from Nurse-Family Partnership. “These collaborations are an important step in enhancing the health of children and families in Sangamon County,” said Lindsay Sleade, RN, program coordinator in SIU’s Office of Community Care.
NFP programs have been in place across the country for nearly 40 years. Data from a 15-year follow-up study to a trial program showed that 48 percent of children were less likely to suffer child abuse and neglect, and 67 percent were less likely to experience behavioral and intellectual problems at age 6.
Preterm births are also increasing in the United States. In 2021, 1 in 10 babies in the U.S. were born before 37 weeks, the highest level attained since 2007, according to an annual March of Dimes report. Disparities also widened between white mothers and Black and Native American mothers, who are already 62 percent more likely to have a preterm birth.
Adding a free personal nurse to a new mother’s health care team can improve these statistics. Parents who are a part of the Nurse-Family Partnership program have shown an 18 percent decrease in pre-term deliveries. The family will learn and practice methods to improve confidence in parenting, and get tips on breastfeeding, nutrition, child development, safe-sleep practices and more.
The nurse can also help families with referrals for health care, child care and other community support services. In addition, nurses may support the parents in continuing their education, developing job skills and following their dreams for the future. To speak to a nurse and see if you qualify for the program, contact Nurse-Family Partnership of Sangamon County at 217-545-0175 or email SIUnfp@siumed.edu.