With the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) over the last decade, healthcare professionals are recognizing that close collaboration and standardized protocols aid in effectively diagnosing and treating newborns with drug withdrawal symptoms. Maternal use of prescription or illicit drugs during pregnancy can result in the newborn experiencing NAS, with symptoms of excessive or high-pitched crying, irritability, poor feeding, sleep problems, slow weight gain, and seizures. Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority analysts identified 797 events involving newborns diagnosed with NAS that occurred from January 2005 through December 2014, with an increasing number of events reported each year. Healthcare professionals use a standardized scoring process, combinations of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions, and close care team collaboration to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of newborns with NAS. With the help of healthcare professionals, mothers and families can provide the supportive love and care needed to help their newborn through the withdrawal process.
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