MinnPost: Program aims to reduce opioid-affected births at rural hospitals

EXCERPT: “Sometime in 2007, labor and delivery nurses at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center began seeing a disturbing shift in their patient population. The opioid-addiction crisis had taken hold in the region, and its impact was being felt among its youngest and most vulnerable residents. More and more mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD) were giving birth at the hospital to babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Unlike care providers at large, urban hospitals, Sanford Bemidji physicians and staff lacked experience in how to care for babies struggling with NAS’ painful withdrawal symptoms and weren’t well versed in helping expectant mothers safely reduce their drug use. It was a stressful time at the hospital, said Lisa Johnson RN, Sanford Bemidji director of women’s and children’s services. ‘When I first started here it was pretty unheard of to see a mom that was suspected of using,’ she said. ‘Then it became the norm.'” FULLSTORY: http://bit.ly/2T41Dxo