Aims and objectives: To examine the effects of a low cost advanced practice nurse telephone intervention for 2 months postbirth in low-income first time mothers with healthy full term infants.
Background: Currently women with non-complicated, healthy full term newborn deliveries receive little to no routine postpartum support. This is problematic if mothers are first time mothers, poor, have problems accessing health care, have language barriers and sparse social support.
Design: A two group randomised clinical trial. This study was conducted in an inner city South Florida county hospital.
Methods: A control group (n = 69) received routine hospital discharge care. An intervention group (n = 70) received routine hospital discharge care plus APN follow up telephone calls for week 8 postdischarge. Comparison of outcomes included maternal health (stress, social support, physical health), infant health (routine medical visits, immunisations, weight gain), morbidity (urgent care visits, emergency room visits, re-hospitalisations), and health care charges (urgent care visits, emergency room visits, re-hospitalisations). Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and two-sample t-tests.
Results: Intervention group mothers had significantly lower perceived stress, significantly greater perceived maternal health and social support; infants had healthier weight gain, fewer emergency room visits; significantly lower total health care charges ($14,333 vs. $70,834) compared to controls.
Conclusion: Study results indicate that APN follow up telephone calls to low-income first time mothers with healthy full term infants is an effective, safe, low cost, easy to apply intervention that improved mothers' and infants' health outcomes and reduced healthcare charges.
Relevance to clinical practice: APNs are uniquely positioned to conduct follow up interventions aimed at providing continuity of care including APN telephone follow up. This is imperative for vulnerable populations especially during times of major budget cuts that affect health care services.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.