Should public health nurses visit every family with a new baby?

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  1. Adam Smith

    Yet another example of public health busybodies wanting to interfere with peoples lives and wag their fingers saying “we know best”. Plus the self-interest they have in seeking to expand their budgets, their importance and their salaries through some form of universal program.

    A good friend of mine (well educated, wealthy, in a stable relationship) said yes to a home visit from a public health nurse after my friend had her baby. That nurse commented about everything that was wrong, wrote up a report and did follow up visits without asking permission. My friend felt like she was being judged by the public health police and now there is a file about her held by the government.

    it is time we learned in health care that more “care” for everyone may not make sense. It is perhaps better to target the care to those who need/want it, more vulnerable etc and leave it all well alone. Plus we need better coordination of care across silos – no point having public health home visits if there’s no coordination with primary care physicians/providers or other providers to the family.

    • Kristy

      So Adam, would your friend be able to identify if her baby had jaundice? Or some other condition her baby could DIE from? Just because some one is well educated, wealthy and in a stable relationship doesn’t mean they can identity issues with their baby. Further more is your friend able to assess herself for post Partum depression? Is she able to understand the hormone imbalances her body will go through? Maybe your friend is well educated, wealthy and in a stable relationship but she is not a public health nurse who had been trained for years to identify problems which mothers and babies died from even as little as 10 years ago. If you are okay with babies dying than yes you are right public health officials should mind their own business


      It is unfortunate that your friend had that experience because her in Northern Colorado we have a program that is very successful. The two nurses use a very non-judgemental approach and are truly there to help these moms be successful. They assist with getting resources if needed, sign up for Medicaid, sustain breastfeeding if that is their goal, and so much more. They build a relationship that it motivated by the mother’s goals and needs. The only priority of the program is to have the mothers feels supported and to succeed.

      • Carla

        My niece just had a baby 3 weeks ago and she is going through hell how do we go about getting someone in to help her

  2. Ann GTA

    Such a circular argument. Huge self selection bias. Those who are “fine” and “don’t need help” will say no because this isn’t a social norm here like it is in the countries with much better child health outcomes. (Nordic countries.) Meanwhile many of these same moms are in their doctors office or talking with their friends about how hard it all is – how they never learned emotional self regulation but now have a screaming baby, or a baby not sleeping, or tantrums, or, or, or. And they are trying to figure out how to cope, how to not yell or hit because they know they feel terrible after and they know there is a better way. Is home visiting all figured out yet? no. Is it imperative that we figure it out and get it right? Only if we care about the future, the roots of violence, and healthy brain, body and life development. Public programs are phenomenal, even quality child care under age 2 is impactful. But NOTHING has as much impact as the home environment, the family relationships, and the dynamics at home.

  3. Vickie Boechler RN, MN

    Bringing a new baby home is a majorlife event even though it has been anticipated for many months. As a former PHN and IBCLC I can cite many many examples of the value of that home visit witin the first 24 hrs. We started the Early Discharge program with the knowledge that mother and baby would be supported by a home vist. This made the early discharge program possible. If we stop doing the home visits then early discharge is no longer safe for the mother and baby. The many reasons for designing the post part/newborn program with an early home bisit are too numerous to cite. It is all about health promotion and prevention rather than waiting for illness to occur with a re admission to hospital. The burden on the new family is too great.

  4. Romel

    Do public health nurse visits moms and babies from out of country that were discharged from postpartum?

  5. Alicia

    Do we get the choice to refuse visits if we do not want them. Im not comfortable with people I don’t know in my home. I would feel much MUCH more comfortable going to a clinic instead of feeling intruded upon

    • PHN/RN Nurse Home Visitor

      @Alicia, the answer is yes. Most maternal child home visiting programs are voluntary and a mother, parent, caregiver who is a referral has to agree to be seen by the home visiting program. Also, consent forms must be signed prior to being enrolled in these type of nurse home visitor programs. Maternal and infant death doesn’t discriminate. Which means wealthy, highly educated, normal relationship mothers/ families have experienced Loss of a loved one in this “status quo class” during their pregnancy, postpartum as well as this same group of people have experienced the death an infant before its 1st birthday.

      • Shayla

        I am SO grateful I had a visit from the public health nurse after my daughter was born. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have known my daughter was even tongue tied. The “lactation consultant” I saw in the hospital didn’t even bother to check when I was having problems nursing. The public health nurse also directed me to a breastfeeding moms support group, with nurses and a lactation consultant in attendance every week. Without that group, I would have given up on nursing after a week probably, and they were able to answer so many other questions I had as a new mom. The public health nurse was so kind and helpful, and followed up with me 2 more times after that initial visit. Every mom should have access to this if they choose.

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