(November 2014) Low-income mothers and their first-born children who received home visits from nurses were less likely to die from preventable causes during a two-decade period studied by David Olds,
Beginning in 1990, the Nurse-Family Partnership enrolled low-income, primarily African-American mothers living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Memphis, Tenn., and assessed maternal and child mortality for more than two decades, until 2011.
Nurse-Family Partnership produced a significant reduction in preventable child death from birth until age 20. Children in the control group not receiving nurse-home visits had a mortality rate of 1.6 percent for preventable causes including sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injuries
In addition, over the same two-decade period, mothers who received nurse-home visits had significantly lower rates of death for all causes compared to mothers not receiving nurse-home visits.
“Death among mothers and children in these age ranges in the United States general population is rare, but of enormous consequence,” says Olds. “The high rates of death among mothers and children not receiving nurse-home visits reflect the toxic conditions faced by too many low-income parents and children in our society. The lower mortality rate found among nurse-visited mothers and children likely reflects the nurses’ support of mothers’ basic human drives to protect their children and themselves.”