Improving the care of neonatal abstinence syndrome

A single-center study reported the results of a coordinated program for neonatal abstinence syndrome, including standardized protocols for scoring, medications and weaning, and a calm rooming-in environment. Otherwise healthy infants were treated on the inpatient pediatric unit instead of in the NICU. There was a significant decrease in the percentage of infants at-risk for NAS who were treated with morphine (from 46% to 27%) and who received adjunctive phenobarbital treatment (from 13% to 2%). The average length of stay for treated infants, the costs per at-risk infant, and the cumulative morphine dose also decreased, without an increase in readmissions.

Rooming in to treat neonatal abstinence syndrome. Holmes et al, 2016.