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Newborn Visits: Let the Doctors Come to You and Your New Baby

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Newborn Visits: Let the Doctors Come to You and Your New Baby

Aug 20, 2015

Most moms can attest to how hard it can be to finally get home from the hospital with their new baby, only to have to go back for a checkup a few days later. Having a baby is hard on the body, and Dr. Amy Williams believes both mom and baby deserve some rest. So she decided to start visiting new moms and babies at their homes. In this podcast, the pediatrician talks about why newborn home visits are so beneficial and how you can schedule one.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: You've just had a baby and then you've got to go to your first doctor's appointment for the first checkup. How about if the doctor came to you instead of you needing to go to the doctor? We'll talk about a brand new service at University of Utah Healthcare called "newborn home visits," next on The Scope.

Announcer: Medical news and research from University Utah physicians and specialists you can use for a happier and healthier life. You're listening to The Scope.

Interviewer: Dr. Amy Williams is a pediatrician at the South Jordan Clinic for University of Utah Healthcare and the person who came up with this great idea and you're going to love her for it, newborn home visits. Why did you decide that newborn home visits were a good idea?

Amy: I think there's a really difficult time in the beginning of after having a baby that mothers are trying to establish a relationship with this new baby. They're trying to get home from the hospital and recover and so I felt like it was a really good time for us to come in and help patients with just a critical period in their life that they need some help.

Interviewer: Yeah, so otherwise they'd have to come in and visit a doctor. At what point in the newborn's life is that first visit?

Amy: They are usually coming in within the first week so they get home from the hospital, a couple days later, they're supposed to pack up, get back into a clinic again to have that baby reestablished with their primary care provider and we're trying to alleviate that first three to five days or that first week when they're supposed to come and see us.

Interviewer: And what do you feel the benefits are for that other than

Amy: There are lots. Lots.

of course, you know, it's convenient. But let's talk about all of them.

Amy: Well, one of them is that we're taking that transition period that the mom's trying to have and just taking that stress from her life so that's obviously a great benefit. We come into the home so it's helpful for parents. They get to show us what they're working with at home so sometimes that's even a benefit where we can look at their environment, help them, show breastfeeding right at their place as opposed to coming to some foreign little clinic office and just reducing the risk of that baby coming in and exposing them to all the other stuff again.

Interviewer: Yeah, sure, sure. Sure.

Amy: It's also a benefit to mom if she's had some sort of surgery. Recovering from having a baby is physically hard and it takes a lot of healing and so if mom's able to move less, we're also doing mom a favor, not only the baby.

Interviewer: Give me an example, tell me a story of a time you went in and you were able to take the mother's environment and actually help making caring for her newborn easier because you saw something going on that they didn't realize.

Amy: I had twins that came home from the newborn intensive care unit. They were premature and they were sent home on car beds, so not car seats. And the mom was trying to figure out how to get her kids in these car beds to the clinic. So I said, "Don't worry about it. We're going to come to your house and we will check them and make sure that we can transition them to a car seat at your house."

So we got to the house, we were able to setup oxygen, just monitoring and see if they could do these car seats. And during that time, we were able to see how the mom was moving around the house and how she was functioning with twins, how she was holding them and help her with breastfeeding and all of that. It was great because after that, she's able to take her kids anywhere now in car seats and she doesn't have to try and figure out how to do these car beds, which are quite cumbersome.

Interviewer: Tell me how do you get that home visit? Is there a special code word?

Amy: Well, the University, right now, we're just offering it at South Jordan Health Clinic, but we want to start getting it out to all the other clinics. So anyone who has their baby seen at the University of Utah Healthcare in any of the community clinics, hopefully at some point we'll have it all there. Right now, parents can just call the 801-213-4500 number that they normally would call to get an appointment for their babies at South Jordan Health Clinic. And at that time, the call center offers them either a home visit or the parents can ask for one and we would set them up and then we would come on out.

Interviewer: What are some of the patients saying about this program that have used it?

Amy: I haven't heard one negative thing yet.

Interviewer: Yeah, okay.

Amy: It's been all awesome. I think parents are overwhelmed, they're excited. They feel like this is something that they wished they could have used with their other kids and now they're excited that it's here for their newborns now. I've heard some parents start with a little hesitancy of having somebody come into their house. They're worried about it not being clean and after you have a baby, the last thing anybody is thinking about is having their house clean. We do not have any care as to what the house itself, what its organization is all about and parents feel really reassured once we get in there that we're not there to judge them on what's around the house, but more to just take care of them and their baby.

Interviewer: And it's really just one of the ways the University of Utah Healthcare is trying to make healthcare a lot more accessible to people instead of the old model where they always have to come to us. We go to them and try to make it more convenient. It's kind of the new way.

Amy: I think University has an interest in getting out to the community and being a part of the community. And this is just one way that we can access our neighbors, our friends, our patients. And it establishes a much better rapport and trust with both sides.

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