The Woman and Infants Center at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese was recently honored by the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative (ILPQC) with an award for taking steps to help mothers and infants affected by opioid use.
According to the ILPQC, overdose is the leading cause of maternal death in Illinois. In fact, the ILPQC reports that pregnancy-associated deaths from opioid poisonings in Illinois increased by 10 times between 2008 and 2017.
To try to prevent these tragedies from happening, the ILPQC launched a statewide obstetric initiative in 2018 to implement guidelines recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. The ILPQC worked with hospital teams, including the Women and Infants Center at HSHS St. Joseph’s Breese, to implement system/protocol changes and shift the clinical culture to educate nurses and providers to help identify those with possible Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). OUD is a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress. Additionally, the initiative aims to get women the help they need to improve outcomes for every pregnant or postpartum woman with OUD.
The steps that the Women and Infants Center at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital put in place, in partnership with local neonatal nurse practitioners and obstetric providers, included:
Screening every pregnant patient for OUD with a validated screening tool.
Assessing the mother’s readiness for and starting Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and linking her to recovery treatment programs.
Completing an OUD Clinical Care Checklist, which includes providing Naloxone (Narcan) counseling and prescription.
Reducing any stigma and bias across the clinical team.
Empowering mothers through education to use non-pharmacologic care for their newborns exposed to opioids.
By implementing these policies and procedures, educating all staff, and submitting data to the ILPQC about how the initiative was enacted at their hospital, St. Joseph’s Women and Infants Center received the QI Leader: Culture and Systems Change Quality Improvement Award from the ILPQC.
Director of St. Joseph’s Women and Infants Center Serra Morton shared why it was important for St. Joseph’s to take part in this initiative. “Through our Mission, we are called to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry. Taking steps to ensure that women struggling with OUD get the education and help they need is a fulfillment of that Mission, while also demonstrating our caring and respect for all,” she said.
For more information about the Women and Infants Center at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese, visit stjoebreese.com/baby.