Margaretville Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), is leading a comprehensive program that supports expecting and newborn parents challenged with addiction while helping to prevent substance use disorders among people of childbearing age.
Margaretville Hospital directs the Catskills Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Consortium, which features pre-pregnancy education, peer counseling, medication-assisted addictions treatment and other services. The consortium program is the first in Delaware County, Margaretville Hospital’s home community, to provide expecting families with comprehensive care coordination that includes critical peer recovery support.
According to Linda Woodbine, PhD, WMCHealth’s Director of Network Addiction Services, the program addresses the unique issues and needs of expecting and newborn families with substance use disorders.
Being a new parent is difficult for anyone, explained Woodbine, but for community members also battling substance use issues, the challenge is even greater, both during pregnancy and after childbirth. The program is critical for Delaware County and its surrounding communities as it offers the support services parents need to foster a healthy, nurturing environment for their children, and themselves.
According to Woodbine, the RCORP program’s key components are a wellness coordinator and certified peer recovery advocates who serve as the foundation for the prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies of the program. The coordinator and recovery advocates are trained as postpartum doulas and offer parents evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.
Research shows moms and dads are better equipped to handle the early rigors of parenthood if a good support team is in place, explained Woodbine. This is especially true for parents with substance use disorders.
Additionally, the RCORP program administrators:
• Share harm reduction strategies - Narcan training, medication take-backs and safe-use kit giveaways – with the community.
• Train obstetricians, gynecologists and other healthcare providers in language and practice that reduce stigmas for substance use parents.
• Maintain a pantry stocked with diapers, baby wipes, formula, infant food, clothing, and other items essential for baby care.
• Offer parenting and “Know Your Rights” training classes.
These services are critical in Delaware County where substance use has led to higher rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome* (NAS) – a group of resulting conditions from a baby’s exposure to opioids, nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, and other addictive substances while in the womb.
The federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, made this program possible through a $500,000 grant. The opioid response program consortium also includes the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Delaware County, the Catskills Addiction Coalition, Delaware Opportunities community action agency and the Samadhi Recovery Outreach Center. Margaretville Hospital also works closely with Delaware County mental health officials and local law enforcement on progressive addiction interventions.
Expecting parents, as well as women and men eager to start a family, should call 845-586-2631 extension 3233 to learn how they can receive help from the program. All calls for more information and future counseling will remain confidential.
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