WMH Awarded Funds to Help Addicted Moms & Babies

(Honesdale, PA, July 30, 2020)…The New Beginnings staff at Wayne Memorial Hospital has received a $15,000 grant to recognize and support their work to improve the quality of care for women and newborns affected by opioids. The funds, which were awarded by the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PA PQC) and its administrator, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, came from the state Department of Drug and Alcohol’s Opioid Response program.

New Beginnings’ Clinical Coordinator Janice Pettinato, RN, spearheaded initiatives that included adopting a validated screening tool called “The Five P’s” to replace the standard universal urine screening. The Five P’s is a questionnaire that asks a pregnant woman about substance abuse by her parents, peers, partner, herself in the past or herself at present. It’s designed to identify substance abuse issues early-on and ultimately connect moms and their babies with programs and services that can be of help.

Pettinato noted that the previous urine screening tool “wasn’t always accurate due to patient compliancy issues” and that since the Five P’s questionnaire was rolled out in March, “it has actually benefited several women and their infants by connecting them to help they needed.”

She cited examples of services such as the Wayne County Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention which can help make sure a newborn is brought to all their follow-up medical appointments.

The survey and a quarterly tracking report were both built into the hospital’s electronic medical records system by Wayne Memorial Information Services’ Renee LaPoint, LPN and Anna Bryden. “Thanks to them,” said Pettinato, “we are able to isolate, track and intervene to hopefully prevent potential long-term problems.”

A small percentage of the approximately 500 babies born a year in the New Beginnings unit suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Nationally the number is on the rise. Statistics show the number of babies born addicted to opioids in the U.S. has tripled in the last 15 years. Long-term effects can include language and behavioral problems as well as altered brain development.

The obstetricians and nurse midwives at New Beginnings hail primarily from the Women’s Health Center, a Wayne Memorial Community Health Center. Women’s Health has also adopted the Five P’s screening tool and done away with universal urine screening.

The PA PQC team includes staff from both New Beginnings and Women’s Health. In addition to Pettinato, the group includes Mary Beth Dastalfo, RN; Kara Poremba, RN; Nicole Hartung, WMH Social Services; and team champion Michele Churney, RN, nurse-manager outpatient services.

Photo left to right: Michele Churney, RN, nurse manager; Geri Buckwalter, RN, Women’s Health; Angela Tang, MD, Women’s Health; Mary Beth Dastalfo, RN, clinical coordinator; Kara Poremba, RN, manager Women’s Health; Christina MacDowell, CNM, Women’s Health; Janice Pettinato, RN, clinical coordinator; Kate Scully, CNM, Women’s Health; Nicole Hartung, Social Services; Pat Konzman, CNM, Women’s Health.