the country’s highest health officer visits Dayton Children’s staff
learns about hospital’s support of innovative way to care for babies in withdrawal
The Secretary of Health and Human Services Office, Alex M. Azar II, visited with Dayton Children’s staff at Brigid’s Path in Kettering on March 2, 2018, to learn about this innovative care model for babies born drug-dependent. Dayton Children’s employs the nurses caring for the babies at Brigid’s Path as well as the center’s medical director Stephen Hunter, MD, a Dayton Children’s and MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist and the clinical director, Lisa Jasin, DNP, NNP-BC, a Dayton Children’s neonatal nurse practitioner.
With the opioid epidemic, Dayton Children’s sees at least one baby a month born dependent; across the state, six babies are admitted to an Ohio hospital every day. Brigid’s Path is one of only a handful of places across the country that takes a unique approach to care for the drug-dependent newborn. Once a baby is through the worst of the withdrawl symptoms, he or she can be transferred from a hospital to Brigid’s Path. It’s a much more home-like setting with less stimulation that can also provide any needed medical care. At the same time, it keeps mom close to baby, with non-judgmental support and community assistance for her addiction.
“Before, I couldn’t have imagined that anything could feel this good and not be a drug,” says Ashley, mom to Olivia who is staying at Brigid’s Path. Ashley is in recovery, just out of an inpatient program. “I know my baby is loved here. She is only two months old and can already roll over because of all the attention and care she is getting here.”
Ashley is now connected with a Family Advocate who will help her on her recovery journey and a “Safe Family” who will ensure baby Olivia has a safe place to stay while Ashley gets back on her feet.
“This is exactly how I envisioned this working out when I started the research on this back in 2013 as part of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association,” says Jasin. “You discover a problem, you do the research, you make innovative system-wide changes and it makes lives better. From an evidence-based perspective, from a community perspective and from a family perspective, this is the perfect outcome.”
Congressman Mike Turner accompanied Secretary Azar on the visit. The pair met with Jill Kingston, founder of Brigid’s path, Jasin, Hunter and Ashley during his visit to Brigid’s path. They also held a roundtable with Ohio youth to learn how the opioid crisis is impacting them.