Birth mothers on opioids get online aid
LEBANON, N.H. (AP) — Coordinated, compassionate care is the goal of a new program designed to help mothers and babies affected by northern New England's opioid crisis.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Perinatal Addiction Treatment Program is using a grant from the March of Dimes to create an online toolkit for hospitals and health centers that want consistent guidelines and a systematic approach to care. For example, the toolkit includes consent forms that enable a patient's addiction treatment provider and medical care team to share information and work together.
"Providers were saying, 'I feel like my patients have two different health care teams — they have their addiction treatment provider and they have their perinatal health care team, and the two don't talk to each other. This is not a safe situation,'" said project coordinator Daisy Goodman.
Officials estimate about 10 percent of newborns in New Hampshire's Upper Connecticut Valley region are exposed to opioids before birth. While that number has increased, knowledge about how to treat them also has significantly improved, Goodman said.
"We've done some hard thinking about treatment versus a punitive approach," she said. "I hope we're moving as a nation in the direction of treatment and support and healing."