Durham, N.C. — When a baby is born without any serious health complications, the parents go home pretty quickly with their new bundle of joy. But that doesn't mean they won't have more questions to ask or concerns when health issues pop up.
Durham Connects, a nonprofit program that pulls in resources from the county health department, the Center for Childhood and Family Health and Duke University, is doing its best to make sure families get those important questions answered and receive professional support in the comfort of their home.
Since 2008, Durham Connects has offered home visits to any Durham County family with a newborn that requests the service.
Jeannine Sato, the program's director, said parents normally sign up for visits while they are still in the hospital. Once the baby is home, registered nurses come for one or more visits to check on the baby's overall health and development.
"(The nurses) really interact with the family as a whole, not just the mom," Sato said.
In addition to the baby's health, nurses check the mother's health.
Registered nurse Elizabeth Stevens, who has visited Jacquetta Cherry and her 3-month-old Jah'maya since they came home from the hospital, recommended breastfeeding to help Jah'maya get enough nourishment.
"To have somebody come in to check on her and check on me, it feels good," Cherry said.
Durham Connects also helps families find primary care physicians and links to financial assistance when it's needed.
"This is of course free of charge to parents, so it's a really nice service just to have a health professional in the comfort of your home," Sato said.
Families that don't sign up for the services in the hospital can register online.