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Home Nurse Visits Linked to Improved Survival in New Mothers and Children — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 8, 2014

Home Nurse Visits Linked to Improved Survival in New Mothers and Children

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Having nurses visit the homes of women from pregnancy through early childhood is associated with improved longer-term maternal and childhood survival, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics.

Over 1100 pregnant women, primarily African American, who were less than 29 weeks' gestation and had not given birth before, were randomized to one of four groups:

  • Treatment 1: free transportation to prenatal appointments.

  • Treatment 2: treatment 1, plus developmental screening and referrals for their children up to age 2 years.

  • Treatment 3: treatment 1, plus roughly seven prenatal nurse home visits and two postpartum visits.

  • Treatment 4: treatment 3, plus home visits for their child up to age 2 years (mean number of visits, 33), plus developmental screening and referrals.

At a mean follow-up of 21 years, treatment group 3, which included nurse home visits, had significantly lower all-cause maternal mortality rates than the control group, consisting of combined treatments 1 and 2 (0.4% vs. 3.7%). Preventable child mortality up to age 20 was significantly lower with treatment 4 than with the control group (0% vs. 1.6%).

The authors conclude: "These findings suggest that this intervention may have longer-term effects on health and mortality as the mothers and their children grow older."

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