According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is steadily increasing. From 2010 to 2017, the number of infants born with the condition increased 82 percent, nationally. Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project at the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that for every 1,000 newborns in the hospital, seven of them were diagnosed with NAS. That breaks down to approximately one infant diagnosed with NAS every 19 minutes or nearly 80 babies daily in the United States.
In November 2020, two neonatal nurses in Phoenix, Arizona opened the Hushabye Nursery, a program that treats infants with NAS and offers support to their caregivers. Modeled after the first of its kind program, Lily’s Place (https://lilysplace.org/) in Huntington, WV, Hushabye is licensed with the Arizona Department of Health and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International.
Hushabye Nursery’s mission is to “embrace substance exposed babies and their caregivers with compassionate, evidence-based care that changes the course of their entire lives . . . a safe and inclusive space where mothers, family members and babies – from conception through childhood – can receive integrative care and therapeutic support that offers each child the best possible life outcomes . . . .”
The non-profit nursery has 12 rooms for inpatient detox customized for infants born with NAS, where their family members can stay, and provides intensive outpatient services for all family members as part of Hushabye’s continuous care. It offers a number of programs that include prenatal preparation, case management, medicine for addiction treatment, marriage and family therapy, education classes, peer support personnel, and a host of other services. Two nurses are always on the premises. Hushabye’s staff are all trauma-informed and work with a family to ensure that they are not retraumatized.
As of December of 2021, the Hushabye Nursery has treated over 180 newborns.