Non-Profit Spotlight: Durham Connects

All Durham County residents who give birth in Durham County are entitled to receive a complimentary in-home nurse visit for you and your baby from Durham Connects.

Durham babies and families have a lot to celebrate! If you gave birth to a baby in Durham in the last six years, then you likely know about Durham Connects. On September 13th, Durham Connects will celebrate the milestone of 6,000+ babies visited at Duke Park, with Durham’s largest birthday cake, and everyone is invited!

durhamconnects2The privately insured, the uninsured, and low-income families on Medicaid are all eligible to participate in Durham Connects’ complimentary in-home nurse visit. The support takes many forms. Our registered nurses always provide a weight and health check for baby and make sure the mother is recovering well from childbirth. Families also benefit from breastfeeding assistance, child care selection assistance, finding financial resources, parenting classes, help identifying and coping with postpartum depression, dealing with social isolation or new family dynamics, and many other issues.

Durham Connects nurses and staff are experts in supporting families of newborns with resources right here in our community. These visits bridge the gap between family needs and community resources to give babies the best possible environment for growth.  Durham Connects’ nurses address issues beyond medical needs such as childcare resources, back-to-work plans, social support, and breastfeeding education. New questions arise with each new baby and our nurses are trained to listen and support new parents in all circumstances.

Durham Connects launched in August 2008 and was part of a 10-year initiative to improve child well-being in Durham by The Duke Endowment called the Durham Family Initiative. Among the many supporting collobarating institutions are the Durham Health Department and Duke University. Today, Durham Connects has expanded to become a program of the Center for Child & Family Health.

The results of Durham Connects are real and impressive for families and the community. Participating in the Durhamdurhamconnects1 Connects directly results in profoundly lower emergency care use in the first year of a child’s life according to the American Journal of Public Health, saving Durham families thousands of health care dollars. Out of a representative subsample of 549 families at age 6 months, Durham Connects families report:

  • 16% greater community connections
  • Utilization of higher quality child care
  • Higher quality parenting behaviors
  • Higher quality home environments
  • Mothers are 28% less likely to report possible clinical anxiety
  • 35% less total infant emergency medical care

For Durham Connects families at age 12 months, hospital administrative records indicate:

  • 50% less total emergency medical care utilization in both emergency room visits and hospital overnight visits

A Durham Connects representative will meet with new parents in the hospital shortly after birth to answer questions, obtain updated contact information and schedule their first visit. Parents can also contact us through our website. Appointments are scheduled for 3 weeks postpartum and last 1 to 2 hours, leaving plenty of time to ask questions. Follow up visits and referrals to helpful resources are available. Durham Connects does not replace a pediatric visit, but is an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with a health care professional in the comfort of your own home.

To celebrate, Durham Connects is hosting a birthday party on September 13th at Duke Park with Durham’s largest birthday cake (created and decorated by our volunteers). The party is from 11am-2pm, cake cutting scheduled for 12:30pm. Kids can enjoy carnival style games ($5 for 10 ) Please come and join in celebrating Durham Connects and all we have achieved for Durham Families.

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