New study could help Nebraska hospitals improve care for babies exposed to opioids

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A new study has been released on how to better treat babies who were exposed to opioids.

The Child Health Research Institute, a partnership between the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, was one of the sites that participated in the trial.

Over 1,300 infants and mothers across the U.S. were studied.

Ann Anderson Berry, the institute’s executive director, said eating, sleeping and being consoled can cut down on hospital time for infants exposed to opioids.

Infants cared for with the new method are also 63% less likely to receive drug therapy.

“In the traditional treatment, over 50% of infants were getting narcotics in the hospital to treat their withdrawal,” Anderson Berry said.

In this study, that number dropped to under 20% for babies receiving the new treatment.

The study is in its early stages and has yet to be implemented in larger settings.  But Anderson Berry said local hospitals are hoping to start using the method soon.

“We have to know exactly what infants need at every given stage of this,” she said. “And so eat, sleep, console works for a good number of infants, but we still have to have that safety net.”

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