Newborn Home Visiting Program Discontinued in Central MA
August 14, 2018
I did my pediatric residency training at UMass so this recent article about the discontinuation of the visiting RN program for babies discharged from their NICU in Worcester, MA really hit close to home.
I experienced my first newborn visit with one of the UMass VNA nurses back when I was an intern in 2003. I had taken care of twin girls born at 32 weeks' gestation, Isabella and Ava, who were discharged home from the NICU when they were about a month old. We visited their home two times in the weeks following discharge and I learned a ton from these visits, including how stressful and fatiguing it is to parent both multiples and preemies (this was about a year before I became a mom for the first time so I really had no idea about how hard it can be to care for a full-term singleton either!)
Through these post-discharge visits we were able to guide my patients' mother as she was breastfeeding and pumping for two increasingly hungry newborns, counsel her on safe sleeping practices, and also make sure that she was not developing any worrisome signs of postpartum depression. We also prevented the hassle and stress of having to take her two preemies out of the home and into their pediatrician's office during the height of cold and flu season, and also called and chatted with the twins' pediatrician after each visit. I've modeled my own newborn home visiting practice on this model of care.
I'm not sure if I should view this is the beginning of the end of newborn home visits though out the U.S. vs a necessary stepping stone toward an improved model of post-discharge care of the mother-newborn dyad. I guess time will tell...