AAMC earns award for dedication to improving care for opioid-exposed infants and families

Hand comforting newborn infant

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) has achieved the “Center of Excellence in Education and Training” designation from the Maryland Patient Safety Center and Vermont Oxford Network (VON) for completing universal training for care of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

NAS is drug withdrawal syndrome experienced by infants exposed to opioids while in utero. Infants born with NAS are more likely to have respiratory complications, feeding difficulty, low birthweights and extended hospital stays.

The collaborative approach to universal training included rapid-cycle distribution of current evidence-based practices to the entire interdisciplinary workforce engaged in caring for substance-exposed infants and families. This approach has been proven to reduce length of hospital stay and length of pharmacologic treatment while increasing family satisfaction.

AAMC’s Newborn Cuddle Program is one approach its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team uses to treat substance-exposed infants. Hospital trained volunteers use comforting techniques, such as holding, rocking, singing or reading, which help decrease length of stay and the need for medication.

“This designation recognizes our dedication to elevating care for infants and families affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome,” said Suzi Rindfleisch, medical director, Neonatal Services at AAMC. “We are committed to interdisciplinary education and service for this important, vulnerable population.”

“The collective dedication of entire teams – including physicians, bedside nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals – make improvement possible,” said Bonnie DiPietro, director of operations for the Maryland Patient Safety Center. “We are already seeing fewer transports of infants, which means families get to stay closer to their local support system, and we expect to see outcomes improve even more over time.”