The article by Eckenrode et al1 in this
issue of THE JOURNAL continues 20 years of research and publication regarding
the Nurse Home Visitation Program (NHVP), a home visitation program for pregnant
and parenting mothers and their infants, begun in Elmira, NY, and largely
replicated in Memphis, Tenn. Previous findings from Elmira and Memphis suggested
that nurse home-visitation services, begun during pregnancy and continuing
through the first 2 years of a child's life, produced benefits in a broad
range of domains, including prevention of child maltreatment. Specifically,
findings from Elmira indicated that children of nurse-visited mothers were
less likely to be abused or neglected than a control group during the first
2 years of the children's lives,2 and their
mothers were less likely to be identified as perpetrators of child maltreatment
during the period between the children's fourth and fifteenth birthdays.3 Nurse-visited children were also less likely to be
taken to the emergency department for injuries or ingestions (a proxy for
maltreatment). In Memphis, nurse-visited children spent fewer days hospitalized
for injuries or ingestions than did a control group.4
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