Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition in which an infant has withdrawal symptoms after being exposed to medication or illegal drugs while in the mother’s womb. NAS babies are at high risk for Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) — especially those with an unsafe sleep environment.
Through this project, each NAS infant is discharged with a packet containing two sleep sacks and a book promoting safe sleep. Discharge nurses also educate the mother or guardian about safe sleep practices for infants, including sleeping alone on their backs in a crib with no loose bedding or soft objects, and no smoking in the home.
Improvements in Action
With funding from the Beckwith Institute, sleep sacks and books were purchased for 250 packets. Beginning in April 2014, packets were distributed at the time of discharge to ensure a safe sleep strategy for infants with NAS, or an NAS diagnosis not requiring medication for treatment. By year’s end, 79 packets had been distributed.
Results — In Progress
An anticipated 200 to 250 babies are diagnosed with NAS each year. Packets will continue to be distributed as long as the supply lasts. As part of the Allegheny County Child Death Review, all SUID deaths will be reviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
The Beckwith Institute is a fully endowed fund of UPMC.