Published on November 16, 2020

LMH Health earns award for dedication to improving care for opioid-exposed infants and families

Vermont Oxford Network (VON) has awarded a “Center of Excellence in Education and Training for Infants and Families Affected by Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” designation to LMH Health, formerly Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The award recognizes that at least 85 percent of the multidisciplinary care team caring for newborns has completed “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Collaborative: Improving Care to Improve Outcomes,” a universal training for care of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a drug withdrawal syndrome experienced by infants exposed to opioids while in utero. Infants born with NAS are more likely to have respiratory complications, feeding difficulty, low birthweight, and extended hospital stays.

“This designation means our staff, both nurses and physicians, are specially trained to give trauma-informed, comprehensive care to newborns and families affected by NAS,” said Emily Hester, LMH Health clinical nursing manager for Maternal Child Services. “Our goal in caring for these patients and families is to lead with evidence-based, high-quality interventions and deliver compassionate, family-centered care. We’re honored to be part of the state’s initiative and are proud to have earned the Center of Excellence designation.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Perinatal Quality Collaborative (KPQC) partnered with VON to provide 33 hospitals in the state universal training designed to standardize care policies. The collaborative approach to universal training included rapid-cycle distribution of current evidence-based practices to the entire interdisciplinary workforce engaged in caring for substance-exposed infants and families. This approach has been proven to reduce length of hospital stay and length of pharmacologic treatment while increasing family satisfaction. LMH is one of the 31 hospitals in the state that achieved the excellence designation from VON and contributed to the second statewide recognition of excellence in education and training that VON has awarded.

“Congratulations to all the care teams across the state of Kansas who have shown how dedicated the state is to caring for this vulnerable population affected by the national opioid epidemic,” said Jeffrey Horbar, Chief Executive and Scientific Officer of VON.

As a global leader in data-driven quality improvement for newborn care, VON leads multi-center quality improvement collaboratives and provides resources to help interdisciplinary teams improve on the most critical and complex challenges facing newborn caregivers. While more than 250 centers nationwide have completed VON’s universal training for NAS, Kansas is only the second statewide collaborative to achieve the Excellence in Education and Training distinction.

LMH Health earns award for dedication to improving care for opioid-exposed infants and families

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