Michael S. Hutton-Woodland: Early intervention is key

  • This is one of the four rooms in the Opioid-exposed Newborn Rooming-in Program at Baystate Medical Center, shown on a tour celebrating the successful Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome program on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, in Springfield.

Published: 9/10/2018 8:10:06 AM
Early intervention is key

The article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “Baystate touts rooming-in program for drug-dependent babies, mothers,” presented the new, beautiful rooming-in services available at Baystate Medical Center. These services are available to pregnant mothers who have struggled with substance use disorder who are giving birth. This state-of-the-art facility already has a proven record of treating the mother and newborn with the best practices to address the mother entering recovery from substance use and a newborn child who is withdrawing from substances in their system.

Congratulations are due to the visionaries who designed this facility and the medical practitioners who are serving families desperately in need. We should note that our other two local hospitals, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, are also addressing this population with intensive services. In response to the growing epidemic of opioid use in our area, these services are designed to help these mothers to continue in recovery following the birth of their child, and addressing the physiological symptoms these children experience upon birth, often called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

REACH Early Intervention Program, a program of ServiceNet serving our region since 1977, has also increased our ability to help these children once they are discharged from the hospital after childbirth. These children often continue to exhibit physical and behavioral symptoms for weeks or months, and we are still learning about the long-term effects prenatal drug exposure has on these infants and toddlers. REACH is proud to offer in-home services for these children up to the age of 3, which may include developmental supports, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and social supports. Our staff have received specialized training to support these children and families, and we are working to strengthen the transition from the hospital out into our communities. 

Michael S. Hutton-Woodland Ph.D.
Director, REACH Early Intervention Program
Amherst




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