NSHA offering free home-visiting program for pregnancy support

Public Health is accepting referrals for clients to participate in the Nurse-Family Partnership Program (NFP) in Nova Scotia’s Eastern Zone, which includes Antigonish, Guysborough, Cape Breton, Inverness, Richmond, and Victoria counties.

Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary home-visiting program, which pairs a specially trained Public Health nurse with a person who is pregnant with their first child and could benefit from additional support due to overlapping challenges they are facing. The partnership starts early in the pregnancy and continues until the child’s second birthday.

Studies show that a NFP reduces hospitalizations, ED visits, language delays, behavioural and intellectual challenges, among other benefits for the child and parents.

“We all know how important it is to have a strong support system during pregnancy, and especially in those early days, weeks and months after welcoming a new baby,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “This program and others like it provide specific support to expecting families and their children, helping to ensure the next generation of Nova Scotians gets a healthy start.”

Nurse-Family Partnership is currently used in eight countries, and Nova Scotia is the third Canadian province to implement NFP, after Ontario and British Columbia.

“As this is an international program, we’ve been adapting NFP for the unique needs of Nova Scotians. We’re confident in the program and excited to build meaningful partnerships with families,” said Jen MacDougall, Public Health Manager, Early Years, Eastern Zone, Nova Scotia Health.

Nurse-Family Partnership is designed to help improve pregnancy outcomes, help children have positive health and development outcomes, and set families on the best path for a healthy and happy life. To accomplish these goals, the Public Health nurse works with the client to identify their personal and parenting goals to support development of skills to move forward independently when the partnership is over. 

“As part of the program we focus on what clients do well, and help use those strengths to work toward their goals. It’s all about empowerment, confidence-building, and giving people the tools to be successful in parenthood and other parts of their lives,” said MacDougall.

People who are pregnant can self-refer to Public Health Early Years if they live in Antigonish, Guysborough, Cape Breton, Inverness, Richmond, and Victoria counties. They can also be referred by a healthcare professional or community organization. 


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