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Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting Program (MECSH)

Meets DHHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Program Model Overview

Last Updated

May 2014

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Theoretical Model

The MECSH model expands traditional postpartum care in Australia by providing home visiting services during and after pregnancy that are designed to enhance maternal and child outcomes. Based on an ecological framework, MECSH addresses issues at the individual, family, and community levels that affect the health and well-being of families and children. The model uses an individualized, strengths-based approach and strives to establish a sustained, trusting partnership between the family and home visitor.

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Program Model Components

Throughout the program, MECSH provides individualized, home-based services focusing on parent education, maternal health and well-being, family relationships, and goal setting. In addition, the nurse home visitors implement the Learning to Communicate curriculum when the child is one month old. The curriculum is designed to foster children's development and is delivered monthly for 12 months. The home visitors also support families on issues such as housing and finances. The home visitors receive support from and refer families to practitioners within the maternal, child, and family health services system as necessary.

In addition to home visiting, MECSH provides group activities, such as parenting groups, and links families to events within the community.

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Target Population

The program targets disadvantaged, pregnant women at risk of adverse maternal and/or child health and development outcomes. To determine eligibility, women are assessed for the following risk factors: lack of support, history of mental illness or childhood abuse, depression, life stressors, history of domestic violence, or alcohol or drug use in the home.

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Where to Find Out More

Lynn Kemp, Ph.D.
Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of New South Wales
Liverpool Hospital
Locked Bag 7103
Liverpool BC, NSW 1871
Australia
Email: l.kemp@unsw.edu.au

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