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Home-Visiting Program Can Reduce Infant Health Care Use

Universal program that employs nurse-parent educator team as visitors cuts ER use


THURSDAY, Dec. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A universal home visiting model that employs a nurse-parent educator team as visitors in the homes of primary caregivers and their first-born children can reduce health care use in the first year, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in Pediatrics.

M. Rebecca Kilburn, Ph.D., and Jill S. Cannon, Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., conducted a randomized clinical trial of an intensive visiting program delivered in homes of primary caregivers and their first-born children in Santa Fe, N.M. Two hundred forty-four primary caregivers participated in the survey.

The researchers found that the treatment-group children were one-third less likely to visit the emergency department in their first year of life (P = 0.02) and were 41 percent less likely to have visited a primary care provider nine or more times (P < 0.001). There was no between-group difference for hospitalizations or injuries requiring medical attention. For high-risk and lower-risk families, the universal program reduced infant health care use.

"Children in families randomly assigned to the program had less health care use in their first year, demonstrating that a universal prevention home visiting model delivered by a nurse-parent educator team can reduce infant health care use," the authors write.

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