Banner UMC changing way they treat mothers, babies born addicted

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Medical professionals say the opioid epidemic in the country will only get worse before it gets any better. 

Since June in Arizona, there have been nearly 400 babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, babies who are born with possible drug-related withdrawal symptoms. 

Doctor Mohammad Bader and Nurse Practitioner Lisa Graham work with Banner UMC, so far they are they only hospital in Arizona who are changing they way they treat babies born with NAS. 

"Historically we treated these babies with morphine. We used to admit these babies to the neonatal intensive care unit or to the pediatric floor and keep these babies for like 20 to 30 days giving them doses of morphine-like every three hours." 

After discovering a new method of treatment that started in Yale, the Family Centered NAS Care Program redefines the way Banner UMC treats mothers and their babies, while at the same time challenging the process by forcing staff to change the culture. 

"For us to be successful in implementing this program one of the things we had to recognize from the beginning is we need to change the culture in how we look at the moms and the babies. Get rid of any judgemental comments that cannot be productive and in fact be harmful to both the parent and the baby." 

The new program is revolutionary in the fact that it takes things back to the basics and minimizes the amount of morphine. 

"The new method looks at can they eat, can they sleep and can they be consoled." 

To execute this program, they built what they call a "nesting room". It comes fitted with a bed, tv and private bathroom.

Officials in the hospital say to be admitted to the program the mother must be able to stay in the hospital full time or another family member.

So far there have been 12 women who have gone through the program and officials at the hospital say they have all stayed an average of six days in the hospital and had gone home with the baby. DCS is also involved. 

Banner UMC says the next step will be to show this program to other hospitals who have already started looking to them in how to start changing their methods. 


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