Research conducted by PolicyLab experts at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and others has shown that innovative initiatives emphasizing family-centered care can have a powerful effect on the health and well-being of children. In other words, children do better when their caregivers do better.
PolicyLab recently launched an intergenerational family services research portfolio that will research, implement, and test innovative ways to engage parents and guardians around their own physical and mental health needs and therefore improve their children’s health outcomes.
“We’re trying to move the needle on complex outcomes that may be driven by social determinants of health, such as what is going on within the home environment,” said Meredith Matone, DrPH, MHS, deputy director of PolicyLab who is overseeing the intergenerational family services research portfolio.
An example of PolicyLab’s ongoing intergenerational family services research is a statewide project for Pennsylvania that Dr. Matone and PolicyLab Director David Rubin, MD, MSCE, are leading to evaluate federally funded home visitation programs for families of young children. So far, their results suggest that mothers who are participating in home-based services are more likely to receive the appropriate number of prenatal care visits, which potentially protects their infants from adverse birth outcomes. After they are born, those infants also are more likely to receive the recommended number of well-child visits.
“Doing this home-visiting evaluation for the past few years has reinforced for me the value of the delivery of care to parents and children together,” Dr. Matone said.
PolicyLab experts are embarking on a new project that will involve in-depth interviews with advocates, policymakers and other hospital administrators across the country to get a sense of the current landscape of intergenerational family services. This beginning phase will be the foundation for a plan to create a comprehensive set of informed recommendations for healthcare systems to incorporate effective intergenerational family services into pediatric practice.
See the full version of this article in the March issue of Bench to Bedside.