VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A local hospital will now provide a new service to help mothers and babies throughout the community.

Good Samaritan Hospital’s new Paramedic Program will provide at-home wellness checks to women during pregnancy, and postpartum, as well as infant development.

The Maternal and Child Health Community Paramedicine Services are provided by grants from Indiana Rural Health Association and the Indiana Department of Health Safety Pin Grant.

Health Disparities Epidemiologist Jessica Sandcork said services are free or low-cost and provide monthly visits for women during their first trimester, as well as weekly visits during their second and third trimesters.

“In our county we don’t have a lot of transportation resources,” Sandcork said. “With this program we have the ability to go to the mom’s home and administer a high level of care.”

Sandcork said the new paramedic program aims to decrease the number of low birth weights and pre-term deliveries.

“12 percent of the births here in Knox County are preterm and it’s most beneficial for babies to be born above that 37 week mark,” Sandcork said. “They are a little bit healthier and require a little less care.”

The program also aims to decrease infant mortality rates.

“We want to have no infant deaths and no fetal deaths in our county,” Sandcork said. “Unfortunately we experience about three deaths a year on average.”

Community paramedic Heather Able said paramedic practitioners are available for 24/7 assistance in the form of emergency response or emotional support.

“We’ll be able to provide iv therapy in the event dehydration and are having a little bit of a harder time keeping fluids down,” Able said. “We have medicines that we can provide as far as nausea medicines to kind of help them, keep the nutrients they need to help keep the baby healthy.”

Both Sandcork and Able hope to see the program grow and expand to other patient populations.

“I think it will really increase accessibility to services that hopefully will improve birth outcome for us in our county,” Sandcork said.

“This is going to be a great added bonus for mom’s and I think it’s going to be something that’s really going to be beneficial to our county,” Able said.

To contact Good Samaritan’s Community Paramedic call 812-887-0411.