DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger's Steele Institute for Health Innovation is spearheading a new care delivery program that helps mothers and their newborns thrive and succeed through recovery. The Free2BMom program, launching this month in Luzerne County, aims to support moms in recovery, provide moms and their babies with social support services, and improve their quality of life.
Free2BMom will help women who are in recovery during pregnancy and two years after childbirth. The program is compassionately designed to provide counseling, community-wide social support and medication-assisted treatment, empowering the mother and her baby to thrive physically, psychologically and socially.
The program plans to enroll 50 expectant moms in Luzerne County during the first year. The care team includes a peer recovery specialist, obstetrician/gynecologist, pediatrician, social worker, addiction medicine specialist, and behavioral health specialists.
The use of opioids during pregnancy can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Newborns with the syndromes are more likely to have low birthweight and respiratory complications. Luzerne County experienced a rate of 13 per 1,000 maternal hospital stays involving opioid use in 2016 and 2017, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. Across Pennsylvania, nearly half of deliveries that involved maternal opioid use during that time were premature or early term. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an infant struggling with the symptoms of opioid dependency enters the world every 15 minutes.
“Mothers on medication-assisted treatment often worry about being judged and fear the stigma around substance abuse disorder, which stops them from seeking proper medical care and support services. At Geisinger, our only concern is to help a mother and her baby,” said Karen Murphy, RN, PhD, executive vice president, chief innovation officer and founding director of the Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation at Geisinger. “The hope is that through intensive intervention, we can enhance the probability of the mother maintaining in recovery.”
Community partnerships are key in making this program a success. Geisinger will work with community organizations to help patients with health and social needs such as transportation, job training, legal service, nutrition and exercise. The program is open to all pregnant women or those who have recently given birth and are enrolled in medication-assisted treatment, regardless of ability to pay.
“Geisinger has more than 40 initiatives to address the opioid crisis, ranging from prevention through education to treatment. We hope that women in Luzerne County take advantage of this program, and we look forward to partnering with community organizations to make it a success,” said Mary Weaver, RN, a program coordinator at Geisinger.
Mothers and community agencies interested in participating may call 844-762-2864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes nine hospital campuses, a 550,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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