January 28, 2005

Doctor climbs ‘the hill’ for nurse home visitation

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photo by Mary Donaldson

Doctor climbs ‘the hill’ for nurse home visitation

Pat Temple, M.D., professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and co-director of the Tennessee division of the Nurses for Newborns Foundation, was a presenter at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. Jan. 26.

The briefing, titled “Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect and Improving Infant Health Through Home Visitation,” was hosted by the Nurses for Newborns Foundation, a non-profit organization with offices in Nashville and St. Louis.

The briefing was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, (R-Mo.), in an effort to bring skill building for parents, early childhood education, home visits and welfare into the national spotlight.

“I will speak to the benefit and costs of nurse home visitation,” Temple said before she left for the briefing. “I believe every new mother deserves a nurse home visit. Teaching and empowering mothers to make the right decisions for their babies and to raise healthy children can save money.”

Temple said the in-home nurse visits can help detect the early stages of illness, and home-visit nurses can be called to help determine whether a child needs immediate care through an emergency room visit. Using the expertise of these nurses has cut back on unnecessary ER visits.

Studies in several other states with similar programs have found that nurse home visits are cost effective, she said.

Nurses for Newborns is a nurse home-visiting agency with programs that serve teen mothers, mothers who are mentally or physically challenged, infants who are sick, and general population families who are in need.