Nurses making special deliveries
The nurses were ready. They wore their face masks. They knew what they had to do.
It was time to deliver toys, diapers and books to nearly 400 pregnant women and families with babies in Palm Beach County. They fanned out across the county in late July, knocking on doors and leaving behind stuffed bags.
The nurses were from the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County and its three in-home visiting programs serving moms-to-be and new moms — Healthy Beginnings Nurses, Nurse-Family Partnership and WHIN (Women’s Health Initiative). In each program, a pregnant woman is paired with a nurse who visits them regularly and continues to see them after the baby is born. Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County funds all three programs.
The nurse is there to act as a teacher as well as support during the pregnancy so the baby is born healthy, safe and strong. Once the baby is home, the nurse follows the child’s development and keeps working with the mother on her own goals.
Because of COVID-19, in-person visits were replaced by phone calls or Skype. And the materials that the women would normally receive monthly from the nurses — diapers, breast-feeding items, developmental toys, books — were left sitting on shelves.
In July, the Health Department purchased waterproof bags and staffers went to work filling them with four months’ worth of materials. The nurses then drove up to the Health Department and picked up the bags.
One of those nurses was Xiomara “Sue” Diaz, who has been with the Nurse-Family Partnership program for three years. She described dropping off the bags:
“I told my clients what day I was going to drop off the goodies and that I was going to leave the materials at the door and go back to my car. Then I would stand in front of my car and we could wave.
“One of the moms was dancing — a little happy dance. They were elated. It was really touching. Even though we are constantly talking on the phone or Skyping or e-mailing, it’s still that contact — that person-to-person — that you miss.
“There were two babies I had not met at all. The moms were showing off the babies. They were proud of that moment: ‘Here I am. I’m fine. It’s all going to be ok.’
“I have two new moms that I hadn’t had eye contact with them. We have done everything we normally do with them but over the phone. Again, it’s not having that face-to-face.
“Now we’re putting a face to the name. This is who has been talking to me. This is you. I love my visits with clients. I do miss them.”
About Healthy, Safe, Strong Stories
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County continues to serve local children and families with the same mission that’s motivated us since 1986: to keep our county’s children healthy, safe and strong. This #HealthySafeStrong series highlights the vital work our providers are doing, and reminds Palm Beach County families that Children’s Services Council is here for you. To contact Children’s Services Council, please click here.