Grant Application

Kristen Maguire, MSN, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

Proposed Innovation

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) — problems that occur in newborns exposed to opiates and other drugs during gestation — is on the rise across the country. Newborns with NAS need observation and treatment of withdrawal symptoms. But separation from the mother can cause infants to show symptoms that lead to premature or unnecessary pharmacological treatment and longer hospital stays.

At Magee-Womens Hospital, newborns with NAS are observed in the mother’s room until she is discharged, then transferred to a Special Care Nursery or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the remainder of the five to seven day observation period. This project aims to establish a new model of care for at risk infants by keeping them with their mothers after discharge in a new Parent Partnership Unit.

Improvements in Action

During this pilot project, the infant will remain with its mother throughout the observation period. Once discharged, the mother and her baby will move to a room on the 2700 unit, which will be converted to a more therapeutic space. In addition, mothers will be required to take classes on various topics — including infant massage, safety, soothing a fussy baby, smoking cessation, health and wellness, food and nutrition, and art/music therapy — designed to ensure families are prepared to care for an at-risk infant.


This project aims to reduce the number of infants needing treatment with medicine, resulting in a decreased length of stay and reduced hospital costs. By preventing mother-child separation, the project team also hopes to see an increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates.