The number of babies born addicted to opioids has tripled in 15 years, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
This condition, also known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), has jumped to six per 1,000 hospital births in 2013, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999.
A groundbreaking program at Baptist Medical Center (BMC) is changing the model of treatment for moms and their babies born with NAS. The NICU team at BMC has found that keeping moms with their babies and offering them treatment, guidance, support and love, helps moms recover and keeps babies out of the overcrowded foster system.
“I was able to get through each day with the help of the amazing staff at Baptist Medical Center,” said one mother recently treated in the program. “They took care of me physically, but also gave me hope and encouragement, especially on the difficult days. They showed me love when I needed it most. They cared so much about me and saw past the ugliness on the outside and took time to listen to me. They went out of their way to fight for me, so that I would not be separated from my baby when I left the hospital. I was given a second chance of a new life with my children. I have my life back. I am free, I feel strong. And with God’s help, I have hope of a bright future.”
The program includes identifying moms, providing interventions, rooming-in, recovery coaching, and referrals for post-discharge care. Thanks to BMC’s NAS program, mothers who join the program are on their way to providing a healthy environment for their children. Because of the work being done at BMC, they have hope.
“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on our country,” said Dr. Octavio Diaz, Tenet’s chief medical officer. “It is our mission to continue developing specialized programs such as this one to build healthier communities across the country.”