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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Study shows nurses' home visits help

Home visits by nurses to young women who are pregnant improve the lives not only of the children but the mothers and their partners as well, a study published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has found. The positive effects last for years.

The program, developed by researchers at Rochester and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, is one of only a handful of programs that have been shown to promote self-sufficiency among young, struggling families. Compared to families who did not receive prenatal and infancy home visits by nurses, families who were visited spent fewer months on welfare and food stamps. Mothers in these families also had fewer subsequent pregnancies and longer intervals between the birth of their first and second child. And their family structure was more stable, with women's partners more involved in the raising of the child and more likely to be employed.

"The investment that society can make at this critical stage in a woman's life pays off over the long run in many ways having to do not only with care of the children, but also with the woman's potential for economic self-sufficiency and the stability in her relationships," said Harriet Kitzman, the Loretta Ford Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing.

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