Shifting from in-person to virtual home visiting in Los Angeles County: Impact on programmatic outcomes.

Published on May 13, 2021in Maternal and Child Health Journal
· DOI :10.1007/S10995-021-03169-5
PURPOSE: This paper describes the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent shift from in-person to virtual (video-based) home visiting, had on the Los Angeles County Welcome Baby Home Visiting Program. DESCRIPTION: The Welcome Baby (WB) Program is a voluntary, universal home visiting program for expectant women and women with infants in Los Angeles County implemented in 14 hospitals in Los Angeles County. Oversight of the program is managed by LA Best Babies Network (LABBN) and funded by First 5 LA. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Welcome Baby Home visitors to shift from in-person home visits to virtual visits, which had an impact on programmatic outcomes. ASSESSMENT: LABBN manages a database utilized by WB sites. In assessing data trends before and during the pandemic, shifting to virtual visits resulted in an increase in both missed visits and completed visits, and a decrease in overall visit length. Completion of required assessments and overall client program completion were not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSION: The Welcome Baby sites across Los Angeles County were able to successfully migrate in-person visits to a virtual platform, proving that virtual visits are possible and do provide some programmatic benefits. However, the long-term efficacy of virtual visits remains to be seen, and further research is warranted.
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