MORGANTOWN, W.Va.- Incidence rates of newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome have rapidly increased in rural states as West Virginia continues to see a rise in opioid use and addiction, including pregnant women.
For the past five years, the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVU CED) has tested and implemented models of care to strengthen services for West Virginia families with infants born exposed to substances in utero or diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
The IMPACT WV program at the WVU CED found that the most effective model of care for infants happens when patient navigation begins in the birthing hospital. Patient navigators play important roles supporting the family by providing services to the child and those who promote the child’s development.
IMPACT WV is partnering with Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, WVU Medicine Children’s and the Preston Memorial Hospital medication-assisted treatment program to develop a collaborative that will extend existing services by offering patient navigators and interdisciplinary transition teams to support women and families in nine counties in the northern region of the state with the highest NAS rates.
The WVU CED received $1.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to implement these services within a three-year period.
“This funding provides the opportunity for us to help women and their families navigate services in West Virginia,” WVU CED Director Lesley Cottrell said. “As a rural state, that is not an easy thing to do, especially if you are also trying to make sure basic needs are met. West Virginia has wonderful services for mothers who are pregnant or after the birth of their baby."
“This funding will also support a NAS follow up clinic. This clinic will connect women and families to substance use services, education, employment and support for their baby’s development after they leave the hospital,” Cottrell added.
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WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities