Dr. Denise Maguire Improving Healthcare of Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome through Statewide Task Force
University of South Florida College of Nursing Assistant Professor, Denise J. Maguire, PhD, RN, CNL, is taking part in a Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns, led by Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, to evaluate evidence-based methods for caring for infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Dr. Maguire is part of a sub-group of the statewide task-force composed of medical professionals and prevention experts to help make recommendations and assess evidence-based methods to care for newborns with NAS. This sub-group is led by Florida Nurses Association (FNA) Executive Director, Willa Fuller.
“So, our job here is to come up with some basic recommendations on how to care for infants with NAS,” Dr. Maguire said, “The next phase then is to create a tool kit and develop a care plan which will include two resources for nurses: best practices and ways to disseminate this information to the community in our state.”
According to the Office of the Attorney General of Florida’s website, NAS is an adverse health effect created from prescription drug abuse during pregnancy. Infants with NAS suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, abdominal pain, incessant crying, and rapid breathing. In 2011, there were 1,563 instances of newborns diagnosed with drug exposure in Florida, but NAS is still widely believed to be an under-reported problem, the Office of the Attorney General of Florida reports.
To address this growing problem, the 2012 Florida Legislature created the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns, which includes medical professionals, law enforcement, prevention experts and state legislators. The task-force, made of three sub-groups, will help examine the scope of NAS in Florida, its long-term effects and the costs associated with caring for drug exposed babies and what prevention and intervention strategies work best for expectant mothers. The task force also examines and analyzes prescription drug-driven Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, evaluating effective prevention and treatment strategies, and submits its findings and proposals to the Florida legislature.
“I’ve been a neonatal nurse and a pediatric nurse for a long time, and I have taken care of many these babies and their mothers,” Dr. Maguire said. “It’s very challenging and it’s heart breaking too. It’s hard to see these babies in so much pain and their withdraw symptoms that they go through. I think this is a very important movement, so that we can begin to make headway in Florida and perhaps be a good role model for the nation.”
Dr. Maguire’s research interest focuses on neonatal care and as Assistant Professor she instructs nursing students on their role in educating patients about drug addiction and on helping them recover. An expert on the care of newborns, Dr. Maguire authored a report about the task-force initiative and its specifics, which was published in the March 2013 issue of FNA’s magazine, The Florida Nurse.
For more information on Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns click here.
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