Early Outreach and Referral Program
The Bridges Prenatal to Three Network (Bridges Network) supports children’s success by identifying health and developmental concerns during the critical first years of life, and by providing families with education, screening, and linkage to services including referrals for home visitation services by public health nurses and other professional staff.
Selected Orange County hospitals participate in an integrated system of community providers. Mothers who deliver a baby in a Bridges hospital are screened at bedside for risk and support needs, given health education and parenting resources including a parenting toolkit, Kit for New Parents, and are provided referrals for services by a Bridges Network home visiting agency and/or linkages to other community resources.
- Increases parent knowledge about children’s health and community resources
- Enlarges the continuum of care for patients ranging from prenatal, to delivery in the hospital, to services after discharge
- Helps decrease unnecessary emergency room visits by worried parents
- Promotes mother/infant bonding
- Assists social work departments and nursing staff with case management and psychosocial needs assessments
- Provides community awareness and highlights the hospital’s support for women who deliver or plan to deliver at their facility
How the Program Works
- Upon admission to the hospital, delivery of their newborn, and based on certain risk criteria, mothers are assigned a pre-screen risk score generated through a web-based system and prioritized for screening. The Bridges hospital staff screen mothers using a standardized assessment tool to identify family support needs and factors that may prevent the newborn from thriving.
- Based on their screening score, mothers can be referred to a Bridges provider for home visitation services, additional support to promote bonding and attachment, and to ensure access to health care services and community resources.
- Mothers are educated on important topics such as immunizations, health insurance enrollment, the benefits of breastfeeding in which they are encouraged to breastfeed, and are offered a Kit for New Parents.
- The Kit for New Parents is free for parents and is distributed by participating Bridges hospitals. The Orange County Kit is customized and includes a digital thermometer to assist parents in identifying when their child has a fever and should call the doctor or go to the hospital ED; an infant gum brush to promote oral health; and benefits of breastfeeding brochure. The Kit also includes the What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick book in which studies show parent education and awareness gained from the book reduced unnecessary trips to the ED by 58 percent and unnecessary clinic visits by 42 percent.
- According to the study, parents also benefit by becoming more educated about their children’s health and missing fewer work days (a 42 percent decrease) and fewer school days (29 percent decrease) for their children.*
HASC provides oversight and technical assistance to the MCHN Early Outreach and Referral program through grant funding provided by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.
- Setting protocol and guidelines for best practices
- Monitoring program service activities and compliance
- Providing technical assistance for the Bridges Connect web-based data system
- Coordinating data collection and reporting
- Establishing referral relationships with community-based organizations
- Facilitating continuing education for staff
- Managing distribution of the Kit for New Parents
- Providing ongoing day-to-day support to participating hospitals
* Statistics from The Anderson School at UCLA and Johnson & Johnson.
The Bridges Network is funded in part by Proposition 10 Tobacco Tax revenues and managed by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County on a renewable basis. There is no fee for participating hospitals.
For more information, please contact Ana Reza, Vice President for Patient Access Services at HASC.