Home Visits to Newborns May Reduce Medical Costs
A study published in the Nov. 1, 2013 issue of the Pediatrics examined results from a program called Durham Connects that provides limited visits by nurses to the homes of newborns. Researchers from Duke University found that the program, which costs an average of $700 per family, resulted in 50 percent less emergency hospital care for the infants in their first year of life, which can cost thousands of dollars. The new federal health care law provides funding for some home visiting programs, which are becoming more common as a preventive health care strategy.
The Durham Connects program offers a few visits from nurses to infants and mothers. The visiting nurses then link patients to pediatricians, primary care physicians and other community resources and services.
The Duke research team started with all 4,777 babies born in Durham County between July 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010. Children born on even dates were offered the program. The scientists studied the medical records for a random sample of more than 500 families, comparing those who got nurse visits to those who didn't. Learn more at durhamconnects.org.