A 50 minute drive is more significant with a newborn in the car.
So when a Beatrice Community Hospital nurse instead made the trip to rural Jefferson County to check on newborn Ibri Mitchell, the baby’s parents were delighted.
“I was thrilled to have someone come here,” said Dani Mitchell from her home in Endicott. “You don’t have to get out of your home, especially within the first two weeks of having a newborn.”
Dani and Kegan Mitchell brought Ibri into the world Jan. 27, 2016.
On Feb. 11, Terri Zajicek visited the Mitchell home to check on Dani and Ibri, just as she has for area newborns and mothers for the past 25 years.
Zajicek, a registered nurse and employee of BCH, is the coordinator of People Caring for People, a program offered by the hospital to mothers who gave birth at BCH and live in the region.
Zajicek said most moms happily agreed to the free home visit, where she checks the overall health of mother and child and provides information and resources.
“She asked me how I’m doing and did my vital signs,” Dani Mitchell said. “She asked a lot of questions about me and the baby. Very friendly, very helpful.”
At the hour-and-a-half visit, Zajicek gave Mitchell a packet of information including when to give the child what vaccinations.
“It’s nice to keep me on board because I don’t know what they get and when they get it,” said Mitchell, who is a first-time mother.
Most visits come about two weeks after birth and one week after mothers are advised to take a newborn to the pediatrician to check for jaundice, weight gain and how feeding is going.
“It’s appreciated by moms,” Zajicek said of the program. “It shows that the hospital cares about new moms and babies and wants to make sure that they get off to a really good start.”
The program started in 1991 and was funded by a federal grant. Now, the hospital pays for People Caring for People. Zajicek is the only person who makes the visits, which totaled 247 in 2015. She is in contact with pediatricians, physicians and community agencies to further assist the families.
“In the home, there are no visitors around and it’s more relaxed,” Zajicek said. “After it’s been a week, they have a lot of questions.”
The visits also include assessments of the safety of the home and the support the family has. Sometimes Zajicek gives a second visit. Agencies Zajicek works with and suggests include Head Start, Early Head Start, Healthy Families America, Mother to Mother Ministry and the Pregnancy Resource Center.
“There’s a lot of support and services for mothers in Beatrice,” Zajicek said.
Zajicek called People Caring for People a neat option for families, a unique program and an outstanding commitment by BCH. It gives mothers a listening ear to any concerns, problems or inquiries they have, she said.
“It is really rewarding to help a mom,” Zajicek said. “It is so satisfying to see you’ve helped a mother feel confident and assured that she’s doing OK with the baby. It’s like 10 pounds gone off her back.”
Zajicek moved to Beatrice from Omaha in 1987.
“I would have loved to have a nurse just to reassure me even on my third baby,” Zajicek said. “And I’m a nurse.”
Zajicek said the program is non-discriminatory and respects all cultures and traditions. Interpreters have accompanied her on the visits in the past.
Mitchell had all good things to say about her experience giving birth at BCH.
“Going into this, it was all a new experience as a new mom,” Mitchell said. “I thought it would be hi and bye. But I thought they made my husband and I feel like a part of the facility. I even made friends with some of the nurses. They were just awesome.”
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