Franciscan Health Michigan City is partnering with the La Porte Fire Department to provide home visits to high-risk prenatal and postpartum patients under the care of LaPorte County Franciscan Health providers.

The program, dubbed Project Swaddle, sends community paramedics to qualifying patients’ home for vital checks, emotional support, connections to community resources and education on safe sleep, home safety, car seat safety, breastfeeding and other parenting topics.

Factors that lead to a patient being classified as high-risk can include diabetes, hypertension, maternal age (younger than 17 or older than 35), a pregnancy with multiple babies, previous pre-term labor, a previous pregnancy loss and substance use disorder.

“Compassionate concern, respect for life and Christian stewardship are among the Franciscan values we practice daily“ said Franciscan Health Prenatal Assistance Program Director Tristan Kirby. “I’m thankful that LaPorte County women will have a greater chance at healthier pregnancies and raising healthier babies through this partnership with the La Porte Fire Department.”

Franciscan Health’s paramedicine program launched Project Swaddle in Crawfordsville in 2018. Since then, the personalized relationships created by Project Swaddle have been shown to help participants stay engaged in monitoring their and their baby’s health.

Participants have been more likely than their non-participating counterparts to follow through on medical appointments, maintain a safe home environment for themselves and their babies and to be more confident as parents.

Pre-natal and postpartum health and safety are of particular concern in LaPorte County, which the Indiana State Department of Health reports has the third highest infant mortality rate in the state at 11.2, which is twice the national rate. LaPorte County also has the highest infant mortality rate in Indiana for non-Hispanic Black infants, 23, which is more than three times the state average.

“In some high-risk situations, wellness visits to ensure both mom and baby are healthy and safe can be the difference between life and death,” City of La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said. “By our paramedics and EMTs making in-home visits, even before baby’s arrival, our team can provide the family with the tools and resources they need for the best start possible. We’re thrilled to have a dedicated partner in Franciscan to offer this important service to the members of our community.”

Patients who may qualify are urged to ask their provider for a referral to Project Swaddle. For more information, please call (219) 214-4700.