August 22, 2018 - One-third of births in Pennsylvania are to mothers living in poverty. Many of these mothers are young, single, socially isolated and without a high school diploma. Their children face major barriers to leading healthy lives and escaping poverty because their mothers lack the necessary resources and support.
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 thousand days of a child’s life. Nurses begin working with families early in pregnancy, and continue until the child is two. Nurses visit families in their homes providing assessments and education on health, development and parenting, setting life goals and sharing resources.
At the Priscilla Payne Hurd Education Center, St. Luke’s NFP educated local legislators and supporters about the initiatives it has put in place over the last year to support families in the Lehigh Valley and encourage its continued funding to positively impact the lives of women, children and families in our region.
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 250 families in Lehigh and Northampton counties, making it one of the largest NFP sites in the state of Pennsylvania.
“The St. Luke’s Network is strongly committed to the goal of creating healthy communities which begins with improving the health and well-being of women, infants, children, and families,” said Grabinski.
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 two 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 2,600 moms and successfully graduated more than 815 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. Who can participate? 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 comes from health care providers. Additional referrals come from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Pregnancy Testing Clinics, schools, and also current clients.
St. Luke’s Nurse-Family Partnership 2017-2018 fiscal year outcomes:
- 90% of our mothers initiated breastfeeding
- 91% of babies born to mothers in our program were born at health weights
- 100% of children in our NFP program at 24 months were up to date on immunizations
- Of the mothers who entered the program without a high school diploma or GED, 77% had either received their GED or high school diploma or were enrolled to complete it at the time they completed the NFP program
- 62% of our mothers 18 and older were working at the time of graduation of the NFP program
- 75% of our moms graduating our program postponed having their second baby beyond 2 years
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue of $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) repeatedly – six times total and four years in a row including 2018. It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.