Keene hospital to have volunteers cuddle babies addicted to opioids
KEENE — A Keene hospital will begin a program next month that will have volunteers cuddle babies born addicted to opioids.
According to the Keene Sentinel, some volunteers with the Women’s & Children’s Health Unit at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene will be trained to assist mothers with newborns and cuddle babies. The volunteer program will begin in mid-May.
The program will be an extension of the Women in Recovery Program at the Keene Medical Center. The doulas’ training in their new role will include how to recognize symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, such as tremors, excessive sneezing and yawning, diarrhea, vomiting, shrill cries and raw skin.
The clinical leader of the Women’s & Children’s Health Unit believes that skin-to-skin contact calms the baby and is the best medicine during their recovery.
Nationally, one baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 25 minutes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which noted a significant increase in the problem over recent years.