News

Nurse-Family Partnership to Hold Virtual Community Briefing
September 28, 2020

What: St. Luke’s Nurse-Family Partnership leaders will discuss program successes and encourage local legislators to continue funding the program that is vital to helping vulnerable women, children and families in our region.

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET

Where: Virtual event, taking place on Microsoft Teams

Each year more than 380,000 children are born to first-time mothers living in poverty. Many of these mothers are young, single, socially isolated and without a high school diploma. Because their mothers lack the necessary resources and support, their children face major barriers to leading healthy lives and escaping poverty. 

St. Luke’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is the local arm of the national, nonprofit Nurse-Family Partnership that connects mothers living in poverty to their own personal nurse to transform the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. Nurses begin working with families early in pregnancy, and continue until the child is 2. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses visited families in their homes providing assessments and education on health, development and parenting, setting life goals and sharing resources. When the pandemic reached Pennsylvania in March 2020, St. Luke’s NFP’s nurses moved quickly to transition all visits to virtual visits.

“Our NFP nurses were uniquely positioned to respond quickly to the pandemic and have provided a great deal of additional support to families,” said Tiffany Grabinski, MSN, RN, NFP Program Manager St. Luke’s Nurse-Family Partnership. “They already had established relationships with their families and our nurses are often the first person that moms turn to for advice, so it as only natural that they quickly reached out to all their families to ensure they understood what COVID-19 was, what social distancing was and why masking was important, keeping them updated as new mitigation measures were put in place.”

Grabinski said its nurses screened families for exposure and symptoms of COVID-19 and helped connect them to care or testing if needed. They also helped families navigate reduced hours at Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices, understand their rights as renters, and the expanded unemployment eligibility criteria, as well as other resources for mental health, IPV, and even health care that got harder to access during these times. “While we greatly miss seeing our families in-person, we have seen and maintained significant increases in clients served and visit completion,” Grabinski said. 

During the virtual meeting, St. Luke’s NFP staff will educate local lawmakers about the program and encourage its continued funding to positively impact the lives of women, children and families in our region.

“It is vital that we invest in women and children during this critical time,” Grabinski said. “The first 1,000 days of life are so important because they lay the foundation for all future health and well-being. The earlier and more we invest in children the greater the return on that investment. Now, more than ever we need strong NFP programs so we can meet the growing needs in our communities.”

Speakers for the update event include: Grabinski; Tina Wida, MSN, RN, NFP, Program Manager; Kelly Berk, BSN, RN, MPH, Administrator-St Luke’s Nurse-Family Partnership; and Lisa Giovanni, MSN, RN, President, Visiting Nurse Association of St. Luke’s Home Health and Hospice Inc.

Registration for the event is required. You can register at this link. Once registered, a link will be sent to attend the event.

For more information, contact InfoLink- 1-866-STLUKES (785-8537) option #4.

About St. Luke’s NFP

St. Luke’s NFP, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of St. Luke’s, began in 2001 in Bethlehem. By 2008, this home-centered program expanded services to include Easton and Allentown. Today, the St. Luke’s NFP site serves more than 370 families in Lehigh and Northampton counties, making it one of the largest NFP sites in the state of Pennsylvania.

“The St. Luke’s VNA Nurse-Family Partnership has impacted the lives of 371 Lehigh Valley families since June of last year. More than 4,200 visits were completed. Partnering women with their own personal nurse for the first 1,000 days of their child’s life can have profoundly positive impacts for both mother and child that last a lifetime,” Grabinski said.

St. Luke’s NFP received $1,146,614 in state grant money in 2019-2020, accounting for roughly 80 percent of the program’s nearly $1.44 million budget. Continued public support is critical.

“In the 2019-20 fiscal year we expanded our budgeted capacity, we are now able to serve 275 families at a given time, up 25 from our previous 250,” Grabinski said. 

Nurse-Family Partnership

The Nurse-Family Partnership is a voluntary, evidence-based home visitation program in which Registered Nurses with specialized training visit low-income, first-time mothers from early in pregnancy through the first 2 years of the child’s life to accomplish three goals:

  • Improve pregnancy outcomes
  • Improve child health and development
  • Improve families’ economic self-sufficiency

NFP is changing the lives of at-risk first-time mothers and improving the future for their newborn babies, according to Grabinski. St. Luke’s NFP has enrolled more than 2,500 moms and successfully graduated more than 744 families from the program.

 Nurse-Family Partnership blends compassion and science and is based on more than forty years of research and clinical trials by Dr. David Olds. The NFP program is implemented in 42 states and the US Virgin Islands, as well as a few replications internationally.

First-time low-income mothers less than 28 weeks gestation are encouraged to participate in the program. NFP referrals come from a variety of community agencies. The largest percentage of referrals come from health care providers. Additional referrals come from WIC, pregnancy testing clinics, schools, and also current clients.

Some facts to be shared at the virtual meeting:

  • 4,242 visits completed
  • 84% of mothers initiated breastfeeding at birth; 58% were still breastfeeding at 6 months
  • 92% of babies were born at term
  • 80% of mothers 18 or older were working at the time they graduated from the NFP program
  • 82% of mothers delayed a subsequent pregnancy beyond 2 years
  • NFP received 461 referrals for service