‘Nurturing New Families’ Program at Avera St. Luke’s Marks 20 Years
Twenty years ago, a group of dedicated obstetrics staffers at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital saw a need for follow-up care for mothers and babies, as their hospital discharge within 24 hours of birth was becoming the norm.
These staffers applied for and received a grant to provide a free support program for moms and babies. What started out as a home visit program eventually evolved into a centralized clinic located at the BirthPlace. Avera St. Luke’s “Nurturing New Families” program turns 20 years old this year!
“Approximately 32 percent of our moms and babies return for a follow-up visit within a week of discharge,” says registered nurse Kim Richter, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at the BirthPlace. “This is a fragile time for both moms and newborn babies, both physically and emotionally. Most times moms just require reassurance that they are doing fine. When there are challenges, early intervention prevents potential re-admissions, resulting in an extremely cost-effective service.”
This support program has grown tremendously in 20 years, becoming a vital community service. In addition to Nurturing New Family visits, 179 moms and babies requested more follow-up visits for breastfeeding challenges last year. “As breastfeeding has become a public health issue having a huge impact on the health of both mother and her child, Avera has made continued lactation support a priority,” Richter says.
For more information, contact Richter at the BirthPlace at (605) 622-5749.