The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program, First Time Mums, has been running for ten years this year at Wuchopperen. The First Time Mums Program is a client-centred, home visiting program providing care and support to mums pregnant with their first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander baby until bub turns two.
The Program aims to assist first time pregnant mums and their families to develop knowledge and skills to improve the long-term health, social and economic future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
The dedicated team of Nurse Home Visitors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Partnership Workers have completed over 5,000 home visits to clients in the past ten years, providing a culturally safe service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The Family Partnership Workers help to promote trust and respect between the clients and their families, the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and local health providers.
Nurse Supervisor of the First Time Mums Program at Wuchopperen, Helen Moss, says the program has made a huge difference to the lives of over 350 families since its inception in Cairns.
“Over the past ten years we have seen the program grow dramatically and help hundreds of mums and bubs, with fantastic results. While the clinical results speak for themselves, the relationships we see our team form with the clients, the mums with their babies, and the mums with each other is the most incredible part of the program.
It is such a rewarding program to be a part of, the whole team really get to know the mums and bubs on a very personal level and seeing the mothers creative positive change for themselves and their families is deeply heart-warming. Ultimately we feel their success is our success!” says Helen.
The First Time Mums program has shown the importance of ongoing support and community in the direct health outcomes of mothers and their babies.
“100% of the babies who have come through the program were fully immunised by the time they turned two, which has had a significant impact on the long-term health of the babies, and 97% of our babies were within a healthy birth weight range. This is a huge achievement and sets up a really solid base for the rest of the child’s life,” says Helen.
Birth weight is a crucial aspect of new born health, with data from Queensland Health showing in 2015‐2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies were 1.8 times as likely to be low birth weight compared with non‐Indigenous babies.