Home Visiting Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Program Activity Analysis for Family Connects

Matern Child Health J. 2022 Jan;26(1):70-78. doi: 10.1007/s10995-021-03337-7. Epub 2022 Jan 10.

Abstract

Purpose: Early reports highlighted challenges in delivering home visiting programs virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic but the extent of the changes in program implementation and their implications remains unknown. We examine program activity and families' perceptions of virtual home visiting during the first nine months of the pandemic using implementation data for Family Connects (FC), an evidence-based and MIECHV-eligible, postpartum nurse home visiting program.

Description: Aggregate program implementation data for five FC sites for January-November of 2019 and 2020 are compared. The COVID-19 Modification Survey is used to analyze families' reactions to virtual program delivery.

Assessment: Post-pandemic onset, FC's program completion rates amounted to 86% of the pre-pandemic activity level. Activity in key components of the intervention-home-visitor education and referrals to community agencies-was maintained at 98% and 87% of the pre-pandemic level respectively. However, education and referrals rates declined among families of color and low-income families. Finally, families reported a positive response to the program, with declines in feelings of isolation and increases in positive attitudes toward in-person medical care-seeking due to FC visits.

Conclusions: During the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, families' interest in home visiting remained strong, performance metrics were maintained at high levels, and families responded positively to the virtual delivery of home visiting. Home visiting programs should continue implementation with virtual modifications during the remainder of the pandemic but attention is needed to address growing disparities in access to home visiting benefits among marginalized communities.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Family Connects; MIECHV; Virtual home visiting.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • House Calls
  • Humans
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Postnatal Care
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2