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Partnering with parents to improve outcomes for substance exposed newborns—a pilot program



Assess impact of parental involvement in care provision for term substance exposed newborns (SENs).

Study design

Prospective observational cohort study included mothers with opioid use disorder and their SENs over 4 year study period. Maternal–Infant dyads enrolled in EMPOWER and rooming-in (RI) programs were included and received care 24/7 in a private room until newborn’s discharge. Outcomes were compared for dyads participating in EMPOWER/RI with historical controls.


Ninety of 156 historical SENs were RI eligible, while 49 of 108 SENs born during RI period had mothers enrolled in EMPOWER. EMPOWER/RI SENs had lower rates for and duration of pharmacotherapy, shorter neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and hospital lengths of stay. EMPOWER/RI increased initiation and continuation of breastfeeding at discharge.


Parental participation was associated with a decrease in initiation and duration of pharmacotherapy, NICU admission, length of stay and hospital charges while increasing breastfeeding initiation and continuation at discharge.

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Fig. 1: Rooming-In Policy.
Fig. 2: Baystate Medical Center’s Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal rooming-in agreement.
Fig. 3: Longitudinal Impact of EMPOWER and rooming-in programs on neonatal outcomes for eligible mother–infant dyads.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of their subjects, and their subjects’ families, as well as those of their colleagues. In addition, we would like to acknowledge Dr Daniel Grow, Ms Annery Brown, Ms Linda Jablonski, Ms Nancy Rines, Ms Michelle Nicoli, Ms Sheila Foss, Ms Emily Lajeunesse, Ms Katiria Moran, Ms Sarah Crawford, Ms Donna Stafilarakis and entire OB nursing staff. Without their support the program could not have achieved the success it did.

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Correspondence to Rachana Singh.

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Singh, R., Rothstein, R., Ricci, K. et al. Partnering with parents to improve outcomes for substance exposed newborns—a pilot program. J Perinatol 40, 1041–1049 (2020).

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