Promoting infant health through home visiting by a nurse-managed community worker team

Public Health Nurs. Jul-Aug 2001;18(4):225-35. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1446.2001.00225.x.


This article describes the Resources, Education and Care in the Home program (REACH-Futures), an infant mortality reduction initiative in the inner city of Chicago built on the World Health Organization (WHO) primary health care model and over a decade of experience administering programs to reduce infant mortality through home visits. The program uses a nurse-managed team, which includes community residents selected, trained, and integrated as health advocates. Service participants were predominately African American families. All participants were low-income and resided in inner-city neighborhoods with high unemployment, high teen birth rates, violent crime, and deteriorated neighborhoods. Outcomes for the first 666 participants are compared to a previous home-visiting program that used only nurses. Participant retention rates were equivalent overall and significantly higher in the first months of the REACH-Futures program. There were two infant deaths during the course of the study, a lower death rate than the previous program or the city. Infant health problems and developmental levels were equivalent to the prior program and significantly more infants were fully immunized at 12 months. The authors conclude that the use of community workers as a part of the home-visiting team is as effective as the nurse-only team in meeting the needs of families at high risk of poor infant outcomes. This approach is of national interest because of its potential to achieve the desired outcomes in a cost-effective manner.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Workers*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Organizational
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Pregnancy
  • Program Evaluation
  • World Health Organization