VICENZA, Italy (May 1, 2020) - The rapid spread of COVID-19 and evolving security precautions changed the lives of everyone, even those who are not born yet.
Mothers awaiting birth of their child had many unanswered questions about new obstacles preparing for childbirth, and more importantly, who could be with them in the delivery room when the big day arrived.
Thanks to teamwork between the Vicenza Army Medical Clinic and civilian nurses with Army Community Service, the garrison’s New Parent Support Program group was rebooted for the realities of the COVID 19 climate to answer questions and support expecting families.
The NPSP was established in 1995 to help Soldiers and family members who are expecting a child, or have a child or children up to three years of age through a variety of supportive services including home visits, support groups and parenting classes to cope with stress, isolation and the everyday demands of parenthood.
Within the NPSP group, the "Home Visitors" provide guidance regarding child development and answer questions related to new-born, young children, family relationships and parenting techniques.
The garrison's current NPSP - Home Visitors group was rebooted to work in collaboration with the Vicenza Health Clinic in the new environment of COVID-19.
"The focus of our OB Working Group is to bring together the nurses from the clinic and the medical professionals at NPSP to channel information from the source directly to the families in our community," said Vanessa Caudill, working group nurse.
According to Caudill, it offers expectant families an update and more reliable source of information than just social media and other people responses.
The group began under the direction of the garrison to give accurate, up-to-date information on the evolving changes occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"After looking at the Facebook posts and comments, we felt that the biggest concerns were that people felt like they weren't being listened to and that they weren't being heard," said Lindsey Delew, another nurse of the working group.
"We hope to alleviate some of the concern by letting people know that garrison has heard you and addressed everybody individually and personally so we can cater support based off of the families' needs," Delew continued.
The group is not operational only during COVID-19 and Caudill underlines how they also support on a regular basis.
"While right now Lindsey [Delew] and I are tasked to be on this working group along with the clinic, I would like to let people know what NPSP does," explained Caudill.
"We are here to provide education and tools to the Vicenza military community, the DoD civilians and their families, hopefully to alleviate some of the normal stressors that go along with parenting," she said.
Home Visitors provide education by offering playgroups, home visits and a variety of classes to include: breastfeeding; sleeping; nutrition; potty training; age appropriate discipline among other topics. Usually, home visits are scheduled by appointment.
"Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we are not able to make home visits or to do classes or playgroups in person and we miss you, but in the interim, we are absolutely available here by phone at this point for all the families in our community, just to reach out," added Caudill.
For those interested to coordinate an appointment or find up-to-date information about expectant families during the COVID-19 pandemic call +39 349 273 5764.