New Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome unit making a difference

Local News

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – In June Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston opened BabySteps. The brand new unit caters to the needs of babies born drug-dependent, otherwise known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

“BabySteps” stands for Sensitive Treatment, Education and Parenting Support. Since 13% of babies delivered at Thomas Memorial are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome it is so important that the unit catered to these needs, and it seems to be working.

“You can see a huge difference in the trend of the numbers…the feedback that we have received not only from our staff here, but the nurses, physicians but the parents have been overwhelmingly grateful and appreciative of the environment that we have provided for their babies,” says Meggan Beckner, a nurse and clinical educator for newborn services at the hospital.

BabySteps uses therapeutic-handling when working with babies. Everything from bathing, to the way you hold them, can make a difference in their recovery. NAS babies stay in the unit for an average of 16-18 days and while they are there they often have volunteer “cuddlers” like Sara Muck who volunteer their time to care for the little ones.

“They are so sweet and so loving… I would just highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys little ones and has some free time. I would do it 24/7 if they let me,” says Muck.

If you are interested in volunteering you can visit Thomas Memorial’s Volunteer Page.

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