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neonatal abstinence syndrome

YNHCH recently won a national award for the care of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Members of the team involved in family-centered practices to improve outcomes for these newborns include (l - r): Adam Berkwitt, MD; Camisha Taylor, RN, assistant patient service manager; Matthew Grossman, MD; and Rachel Osborn, MD.


Yale New Haven Children's Hospital recently won a national award for a project that promotes family-centered care to reduce length of stay, medication treatment and cost of care for newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The Children's Hospital Association named YNHCH the overall winner of the 2015 Pediatric Quality Award, given every two years, and recognized YNHCH in the clinical care category for the care of infants with the syndrome, which is a group of problems that occur in a newborn exposed to addictive opiate drugs while in the mother's womb.

Starting in 2007, YNHCH began to introduce a bundle of practices that include having parents of the newborns room with their babies and swaddle, feed on demand and soothe them. These and other family-centered practices have helped reduce the length of stay for babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome from 27.7 days in 2003 to 6.4 days in 2015, said Matthew Grossman, MD. The number of babies started on anti-addiction medications dropped from 97 percent to less than 15 percent. The bundle of practices has saved $5.4 million in the care of these infants since 2011.

"The results are evidence that having parents intimately involved in their babies' care – even more than treatment with medications – is critical to achieving positive outcomes," Dr. Grossman said. "The other successes of this project are the partnerships between the parents of the newborns and the physicians and nurses who educate, encourage and support them."

The national Pediatric Quality Award honors successful quality improvement initiatives that significantly improve care for pediatric patients. The overall winner was selected from 76 entries by a panel of national quality improvement and patient safety leaders.