'Eat, sleep and console' a boon for opioid-exposed newborns, study shows

Opioid-exposed newborns responded well to a new quality improvement approach called Eat, Sleep and Console, documented in Medical Xpress.

Researchers detailed their findings at the 2019 meeting of Pediatric Academic Societies taking place in Baltimore April 24 through May 1.

Researchers tested the new approach in a hospital newborn intensive care unit. Their quality improvement process emphasized non-pharmacologic care, increasing family involvement and using morphine on an as-needed basis instead of tapered methadone.

The changes in clinical practice were supplemented with education, charting tools and teaching moments on bedside rounds and during morning huddles.

The study shows that during the pre-intervention period in 2017, 635 infants were admitted to the NICU, of which 11.2 percent had fetal opioid exposure. Nearly 65 percent of the infants were treated with methadone for neonatal abstinence with an average length of stay of 22.7 days.

Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Oct. 31, 2018, the period during which the quality improvement process was initiated, there were 50 infants admitted to the NICU with fetal opioid exposure. The length of stay decreased from a median of 21 days in the first quarter to 5.5 days in the third quarter of the study period.

Additionally, medication to treat neonatal abstinence decreased from 75 percent in the first quarter to 27.8 percent in the third quarter.

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