Objectives: We evaluated whether a brief, universal, postnatal nurse home-visiting intervention can be implemented with high penetration and fidelity, prevent emergency health care services, and promote positive parenting by infant age 6 months.
Methods: Durham Connects is a manualized 4- to 7-session program to assess family needs and connect parents with community resources to improve infant health and well-being. All 4777 resident births in Durham, North Carolina, between July 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010, were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. A random, representative subset of 549 families received blinded interviews for impact evaluation.
Results: Of all families, 80% initiated participation; adherence was 84%. Hospital records indicated that Durham Connects infants had 59% fewer infant emergency medical care episodes than did control infants. Durham Connects mothers reported fewer infant emergency care episodes and more community connections, more positive parenting behaviors, participation in higher quality out-of-home child care, and lower rates of anxiety than control mothers. Blinded observers reported higher quality home environments for Durham Connects than for control families.
Conclusions: A brief universal home-visiting program implemented with high penetration and fidelity can lower costly emergency medical care and improve family outcomes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01406184.