Neonatal Abstinence Program

Mother and BabyThe Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh’s Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program (NAS) provides high quality care for mothers and infants. The program helps mothers and infants get the best possible results physically, emotionally and mentally, and help newborns and mothers return home in a safe and healthy state. From before the baby is born until developmental support is no longer needed, the experienced doctors, nurses and therapists at The Children’s Institute provide the type of care that is important to success for infants with NAS.

Program Goals
The Neonatal Abstinence Program provides many services that help both the mother and child. The program addresses the following key components for long-term success:
• Developing a positive and healthy mother/baby relationship
• Reducing the return of previous lifestyle choices
• Early detection and management of developmental delays

How the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program Works

Our team carefully looks at the needs of both the mother and the child at every step of the way. The program includes multiple parts: care coordination services before and after birth, inpatient services including medical care and 24/7 nursing care and support, feeding evaluation and support, and outpatient developmental pediatric services after the baby goes home.

Care Coordination
Care Coordination is a service provided by The Children’s Institute that coordinates the care of children with complex medical conditions and babies with NAS. Our care coordinators and health coaches work with the family to make sure that every child gets the services they need when they need them. The role of Care Coordination is very important in the neonatal abstinence program, and supports the family throughout each stage of the program:

1. Care Coordination will begin meeting with the mother and the birth team during the third trimester.
2. Following the infant’s birth and NAS diagnosis, a Clinical Coordinator will go to the hospital to talk about next steps.
3. Care Coordination continues to provide support throughout the child’s time at The Children’s Institute as an inpatient and during outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Services
When the infant is healthy enough for transfer from the birth hospital, he or she will come to the pediatric inpatient unit at The Children's Institute under the care of Dr. Howard Ferimer, board certified in pediatric critical care. Our nursing staff will support and care for the patient throughout his or her stay. Techniques for infant relaxation will be taught to the mother to help the baby stay calm and happy. Dr. Bethany Ziss, a developmental pediatrician at The Children’s Institute, will provide medical support. Dr. Ziss will assess the patient’s developmental needs before they go home to prepare for outpatient services.

Feeding Support
During each infant's inpatient stay, our doctors will evaluate  feeding needs and help decide whether feeding therapy would be helpful. If feeding support is needed, our experienced team of feeding therapists will work with the mother and baby to ensure the baby is able to feed correctly and is receiving the best nutrition.

Outpatient Services
After a patient leaves our inpatient unit, they will continue outpatient services through The Children’s Institute’s Developmental Pediatrics group with Dr. Bethany Ziss. Dr. Ziss will continue to see each child until at least age 3. Our Developmental Pediatrics team will work early on to address any developmental delays the child may have to make sure the child stays healthy. Our Developmental Pediatrics team can make suggestions and referrals to any therapy services that may be helpful, such as Physical Therapy, Speech/Language Therapy or Occupational Therapy. 

By the end of the NAS program, both the mother and baby will be on a positive track for a healthy and happy life together.

Download printable information here:
Neonatal Abstinence Program

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