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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Vanderbilt: Project Seeks to Enhance Opioid Care for Infants

The number of opioid-exposed infants who were connected, along with their families, to outside resources upon discharge from the hospital surged in a recent six-month pilot.

Team Hope, Vanderbilt University Medical Center initiative to improve the care of opioid-exposed infants, sought to standardize a protocol that would bridge infants’ families to outside resources.

Before the checklist was implemented, 2.6 percent of infants had a fully completed pre-discharge bundle, which includes referrals to a primary care physician; early intervention services; an in-home nursing assessment and educational services; a development clinic if diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and the gastroenterology or infectious disease clinic if exposed to hepatitis C virus.

“The root of Team Hope’s mission is to change the paradigm from doctors directing care to helping families get what they need to be successful. In six months, we saw marked improvement in how well we were connecting these children to important resources,” said Dr. Travis Crook, lead author.

The pilot stemmed from Team Hope’s mission to improve the care of infants and families affected by opioid use by extending the opportunity for good health beyond the hospital walls, said Dr. Crook.

“Nationally, we know there are gaps in connecting families affected by the opioid crisis to services that could help them thrive,” said Dr. Stephen Patrick, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy and senior author.

“At VUMC, we used a simple checklist, coupled with rigorous quality improvement methodology, to do a better job of connecting families to these important community resources. This work is one step forward in our journey to provide better care for our families.”

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