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Early intervention for healthy moms and babies

Rachel Gladhart is Bartlett Beginnings' first-ever perinatal case manager.

A nurse midwife by profession, Rachel is excited to move into a new role that connects patients with substance misuse and other issues to community support systems, whether that be parenting programs, counselors, therapists or child well-being services.

"I'll be that bridge between the clinical world and all the different community supports that are out there," she says.

Rachel says most women she works with are concerned for their baby's well-being. She is in the unique position to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach, initiating contact with patients well before it is time for them to give birth.

"Bartlett and the community effort that created this role have emphasized the value that all parents and parents-to-be need support, and this is an innovative way to provide that care," she explains. The new program Rachel is coordinating is called Hello B.A.B.Y. (Building Alaskan Babies with You).

One primary focus of the role is working with patients on substance issues with the goal of harm reduction for patients, their babies and their families. She also works with prenatal patients on lack of housing, community connections, food insecurity or depression.

The patients Rachel works with mainly come recommended by local health care providers. But anyone can recommend a patient that may benefit from the program.

"How can we support a woman so she doesn't end up in a high-risk situation or with complications?" she asks. "One bad outcome is one too much."

Rachel says the goal is to establish a rapport with patients from the get-go.

"As a health care provider, you might have a very small amount of time to connect with a patient and make a difference in their lives," she says. "And for me to have the chance on a larger scale to provide that care and support for Juneau families, I find that really exciting."

The ultimate goal is patient empowerment. "It's not that I have all the answers for them," she says. "They know their situation best. And if we make that connection, then I can maybe deliver some solutions."

Categories: Parenting

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