Health Team

House Calls Bring Relief, Advice For New Parents

Posted October 12, 2007 4:39 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2007 7:03 p.m. EDT

— Taking a new bundle of joy home from the hospital can be an overwhelming experience. But nurses from one local hospital are making house calls, offering help and advice to new parents.

FirstHealth Moore Regional launched the Great Beginnings program in late August. Registered nurses make complimentary house calls within 5 days after the infant leaves the hospital. Nurses also follow-up when the baby is three and six months old.

New parents Amanda and Andy Benefield said the visit by Sherri Thomas, R.N., the program's coordinator, provided some welcome tips.

"Sometimes in the hospital, you're kind of rushed in and rushed out. You don't get answers," Amanda Benefield said.

Thomas gives each infant a physical examination and reviews the child's environment. She leaves materials, so parents can accurately track their baby's developmental milestones.

For the Benefields, she answered questions about normal infant weight gain and showed how to safely arrange a baby's crib.

"Put him (the baby) on his back. He doesn't need big, fluffy blankets. He just needs a crib sheet and a light blanket over him," she said.

Thomas recommended never bringing a baby into bed with you.

"You know you're sleep deprived to begin with," she said. "You could actually roll over. The baby could get lost in the blankets."

Organizers expect nurses to make at least 400 house calls within the first year of Great Beginnings. The program is funded N.C. Smart Start through a grant from Moore County's Partners for Families and Children.

Andy Benefield, who has raised two children before, said he was glad "to have someone come into your own home when you're there and let you know everything's all right."