Ascension St. Francis Hospital, Milwaukee, 2022 Community Benefits

Ascension Wisconsin Blanket of Love for Spanish Speaking Moms

Ascension Wisconsin has added a bilingual Blanket of Love prenatal education group at Ascension St. Francis Hospital for Spanish speaking moms-to-be. Founded in 2004 by Julia Means, RN, a community and parish nurse for Ascension Wisconsin, Blanket of Love is an educational program for expectant mothers and their families to help reduce infant mortality and promote familial wellness. 

The program creates a community of support, an educational presentation and time for sharing with staff and other members of the group. Participants receive education on a variety of topics and strategies to improve the health of the mother and the baby. Young parents receive information about their baby’s development, nutritional tips and infant care.
Participants get together once a week for discussions about the role and responsibilities of parenthood, have opportunities to ask questions, talk about their shared experiences, and get medical questions answered as well. The program connects participants to other resources that can help lower stress, support wellness and eliminate the two most preventable causes of infant death in Milwaukee, premature births and unsafe sleeping environments.

Ascension Wisconsin Blanket of Love has grown to include 36 churches, three Ascension Wisconsin hospital campuses (Ascension St. Joseph, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee and Ascension St. Francis Hospital) and Meta House. Each year, more than 5,200 families receive educational, social and health care resources through Ascension Wisconsin’s Blanket of Love. 

Throughout the pandemic, moms and their families have been meeting virtually with ongoing case management assistance. The program also supported a birthday celebration for babies who turned one year old, held walk-through baby showers and connected moms to resources like food, diapers and wipes through the Ascension Ebenezer Health Resource Center. 

Each year in Milwaukee too many infants die before their first birthdays. Infant mortality is a complex problem that requires a sustained community wide effort to address.
The program works in collaboration with church congregations, city officials, homeless shelters, neighborhood centers and community partners.