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WIC Field Note

Home Visiting Services

By Webster County Health Department, Iowa

Webster County Health Department (WCHD) is located in rural Iowa and provides WIC services to a 5 county WIC service area. WCHD has integrated WIC certifications into the Maternal Health Program to provide an alternate option for WIC certification visits for new mothers and babies. Potential or active WIC participants are referred to WCHD by hospital staff, medical providers, OB clinics, WIC staff or self-referred for a home visit.  Once a referral is received, WCHD administration staff contacts the mom for a telephone interview to obtain all necessary WIC participant enrollment information.  Participants provide proof of address and income via a picture to a secured agency cell phone or to staff email.  A nurse trained in maternal and infant health care and who is also a trained WIC Competent Professional Authority (CPA) completes the home visit.  The home visit includes a head-to-toe assessment of the mother and the infant.  The nurse discusses normal post-partum care, infant care, feedings, breastfeeding support, and nutrition education, and also provides information about when to seek care from the physician.  The mother’s blood pressure and weight are measured and documented, and hemoglobin is tested using a portable Pronto machine. The nurse/CPA conducts the growth and feeding assessments to enroll the infant into the WIC Program and also does the post-partum recertification or enrollment.  When the certification process is completed, the nurse/CPA issues benefits to the participant’s eWIC card.  Future WIC appointments for the family are scheduled during the home visit.  Appointment reminder cards and a pamphlet with the list of food items are mailed to the participant when the nurse/CPA returns to the office.

Families have commented on the convenience of this option. They appreciate the individual one-on-one time with the nurse in the home setting. In 2019, 227 families received a combination WIC/home visitation certification visit. In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, WCHD wanted to continue to provide home visit support and education to participants that desired to receive the services.  WCHD screened staff and families for COVID symptoms prior to the home visit to ensure the safety of staff and the participants.  As expected, the number was lower than FY2019, with 81 families served through a combination WIC/home visitation service during 2020. WCHD will continue to provide this model of service and anticipates an increase in the WIC/home visit program in FY2021. During the first 6 months of FY2021, WCHD has provided 70 WIC/home visit certifications.

For more information please contact Tricia Nichols RN tnichols@webstercountyia.org

Date Added
June 9, 2021