Unfortunately, every day babies are born who are addicted to opiates and who fight for their lives. They need a special love and care so that they can go through the process of withdrawal that can be unbearable. With these newborns potentially spending weeks, even months in the NICU, hospitals across the United States have introduced new rewarding voluntary programs.
Hugs care programs ask for volunteers to snuggle newborns suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). According to MedlinePlus, NAS is a  group of problems that occur in a newborn who was exposed to addictive narcotic drugs such as, among others, heroin, codeine and oxycontin, while in the mother's womb. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, seizures, sweating and vomiting along with many more. Babies suffering from this syndrome can not calm down. They are irritable, cry excessively and are extremely difficult to comfort.
Mothers of drug-addicted babies are usually struggling with their own battles and are not able to care for their newborns. When the parents can not be there and the hospital staff is busy taking care of other patients, it is when the volunteers intervene. The mimes go through background checks to make sure they never abused a child. Then they complete a four-hour training course on things like hand washing and infection control. Food and diapering are not part of the duties of the mimes, and their three-hour shifts are under the supervision of a nurse.
When substance abuse rates began to rise in Pennsylvania, nurse Jane Cavanaugh knew she had to do something to help her home state. She spoke with Philly.com about the hugs program that began at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. "These babies who are abstinent should be retained for prolonged periods," he said. "They need a human touch, they need painkillers, they need to talk." The group of 25 volunteers from Cavanaugh ranges from students to retirees.
Maribeth McLaughlin supervises mime volunteers at the Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh. She told Today.com that comfortable treatment seems to be working for NAS babies in her unit. "[The program] it's about wrapping them up and giving them that feeling of comfort and safety." In the cases he has seen, McLaughlin says that babies who withdraw and cuddle up regularly need less medication and go home sooner than those who do not.
Numerous studies, including research conducted at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, establish the importance of the human touch in the development of a baby's brain. Skin-to-skin contact between newborns and parents has become common in most hospitals and NICUs.
Julia Gluck, 66, volunteered her hugs at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. She spoke with CBC News about the rewarding experience. "It's like being in heaven," he said. "It's the most wonderful thing." Gluck described the program as the perfect way to give back.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NAS instances have increased in the USA. UU In an amazing 383 percent since 2000. This means that there are many special newborns who need loving and hospitable volunteers. .
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