WISHH program supports infant well-being at home | Local company

As a Care Manager in Stillwater Medical’s Women’s Health Unit, Jeanne Campbell helps complete a journey from prenatal to postpartum. It was in 1987, following the birth of her first child, that Jeanne saw an unmet need in the community.

“It often happens that it is difficult or often impossible for a mother with a newborn to leave the house,” Jeanne explained. “65% of the families we serve are on Medicaid and there are circumstances that require a home visit to check on the baby and the mother,” Campbell said.

Women & Infant Skilled Home Health exists to help families adjust to life at home with a new baby within the first two weeks of delivery. The program serves all types of payment sources, including private insurance, Medicaid, and even out-of-pocket payments. Visits are conducted by registered nurses with 15 to 38 years of experience and certified in a neonatal resuscitation program as well as lactation counseling.

While many think of elder care when it comes to home health, protecting the well-being of postpartum mothers and newborns makes up nearly 10% of home health services in Stillwater.

“During the pandemic, we visited over 40 mothers who gave birth without the support of a spouse or family due to COVID restrictions,” Jeanne said. “Our visits include feeding assessments, vital signs, baby weight checks, jaundice assessments and more. Often feeding issues are a major concern, so pre- and post-feeding weight control is crucial for the visit.

Maria Avers, director of Stillwater Medical Home Health, explained that funding is a concern for the prospects of the WISHH program saying, “The value of a visit is $165, but Medicaid reimburses about $80. Funding does not cover service delivery.

A new infant scale was needed to use during home visits. Donations to the Stillwater Medical Foundation funded 100% of the scale purchase.

Ryan H. Bowman