Virtual Perinatal Support Persists During COVID-19

May 7, 2021

Health equity is thriving through Paso a Paso, a Community Health Investment program of Providence St. Joseph Hospital and Providence Redwood Memorial Hospital in Humboldt County. The bilingual and bicultural Paso a Paso team provides cultural and linguistically appropriate perinatal care to the Latinx community. Such services include childbirth education; breast feeding support; infant massage classes; parenting classes; home, phone or virtual visits; individual counseling and psychotherapy; resource referrals; and support groups. 

Through extensive educational opportunities offered by Paso a Paso, Latinx parents are empowered to build personalized parenting plans while being treated with compassion, dignity, and respect.

When COVID-19 presented challenges to resource accessibility, the Paso a Paso team mobilized their typical in-person efforts, enabling clients to safely continue perinatal care from the comfort of their home. It’s been critical to the Paso a Paso team to understand what the unmet needs are for their clients, and to supply diapers, culturally appropriate foods, masks and hand sanitizer through resource fairs and home drop-offs.

Most often, families lean on Paso a Paso during the perinatal period, but additional services (all free) are offered to support growing Latinx families:

  • Perinatal Support Services
  • Community Outreach and Engagement, Wellness and Prevention
  • Application Assistance and Healthcare Navigation
  • Social Work
  • Psychotherapy
  • Connection to Community Resources and Referrals

COVID-19 has also created a strain on students’ abilities to connect with their educational materials and maintain a vibrant social life.

When lead community health worker with Paso a Paso, Jessica Eusebio-Larios, discovered a sixth-grade student’s grades were significantly declining, she researched the cause and found that the student never received a school-assigned Chromebook and was attempting to complete homework on her family’s one cell phone. Eusebio-Larios was able to bridge the language barrier for the student’s parents who are not fluent in English and request a Chromebook from the Humboldt County Office. This seemingly small action had a lasting impact on the student’s educational future.

Paso a Paso’s in-person classes have transitioned to virtual classes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Eusebio-Larios leads an evidence-based curriculum that promotes nurturing touch and understanding infant cues to increase connection between parents and babies.  

During one class, Eusebio-Larios noticed a struggling mother— “I could hear it in her voice, because we speak the same language and share culture, we have a real connection. I had known this mom for many years and had taught her childbirth education classes.” 

Eusebio-Larios was able to refer this mother to a psychotherapist with Paso a Paso, who provides counseling services to uninsured community members. The mother was able to easily gain support for anxiety and depression through virtual therapy visits.

Paso a Paso continues to ease the perinatal experience for Latinx parents and serve as a reminder that the community will persevere through teamwork.  

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