Transition Home: Safe Plan of Care for Infants with a History of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Academic Article


  • Background and Purpose Opioid use disorder is an ever-expanding health epidemic affecting populations across the lifespan. Infants diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) often require additional resources while inpatient and after discharge to support ongoing NAS symptoms and improve outcomes. The purpose of this article is to highlight the need for a "safe plan of care" for infants with a history of NAS and provide evidence-based recommendations for providers. Review of Current Practice In response to the opioid crisis, legislative efforts were passed to enhance access to care and provide valuable resources for families and clinical providers. These efforts require the development of comprehensive plans of care that include assessment of the home environment along with specialized care and services. Despite active legislation, infants and families continue to lack adequate access to resources such as therapy, specialized nutritional support, developmental specialists, and financial support. Evidence-Based Recommendations An effective safe plan of care ensures that infants with a history of NAS are discharged to caregivers who are prepared, devoted, and responsive to the infants' needs. These essential components include responsive caregiving, safe and secure environments, appropriate nutrition, and health-promoting behaviors. Conclusion and Implications A review of current practice and evidence-based recommendations reveals essential components of a safe plan of care for infants with a history of NAS. By embracing the need for a comprehensive plan, providers can empathize with family needs and activate resources to promote healthy families and improve long-term outcomes of these infants.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bordelon C; Wood T; Johnson M; Fogger S
  • Start Page

  • 60
  • End Page

  • 65
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 1