Supporting Infants at Risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A 2-Generation Care Model

As a consequence of the opioid crisis, the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has continued to rise. Recent research has highlighted the importance of supportive, non-pharmacological care, ideally provided through rooming-in of the family, as the first line of treatment for all infants with in utero opioid exposure and NAS. This presentation will offer insight from one hospital’s experience in caring for mother and baby together, using a trauma-informed approach and evidence-based strategies, and the child life role in this collaborative care model. The goals and outcomes of this quality improvement initiative will be shared, including data on reducing length of stay and need for medication and improving patient experience.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define relevant terms and consider causes and social factors associated with in utero opioid exposure
  • Identify the range of symptoms associated with neonatal withdrawal and non-pharmacological care strategies as first line of treatment
  • Describe the approach of one hospital program in caring for baby and mother together and the child life role in this collaborative care model
  • Acquire knowledge about trauma-informed care and the importance of its application with this patient population.

Domain: Intervention

Erin Munn


Erin Munn, MS, CCLS is a Child Life Specialist 3 at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, with twenty-five years of experience as a Certified Child Life Specialist.  Since 2017, she has served as the child life specialist within a healthcare improvement initiative focused on improving care for women and newborns affected by the opioid crisis during their prenatal care, birth admission, and up to one year post-partum.  Prior to this position, Erin has served children and families across a wide range of inpatient and outpatient areas, including cardiology, critical care, presurgery, burn/trauma, and specialty clinics, first with the Child Life Department at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1995 to 2011, before joining Child Life Services at Vanderbilt in 2011.  Throughout her career, she has maintained a commitment to the professional development of child life students and staff, with highlights including her roles as a child life clinical specialist, interim staff supervisor, internship coordinator, and as co-chair of the Internship Task Force for the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) which developed standardized curriculum modules and a supervisor manual for child life internship programs. In addition to numerous presentations at conferences in the United States, Erin has been an invited speaker for conferences and education series in New Zealand, the Philippines, and in the Balkans.  During her time at Johns Hopkins, Erin helped to co-author a training curriculum titled Child-centered health care trainer manual: A 5-day inservice training course for pediatric health care workers and collaborated with fellow authors to pilot the training for healthcare providers at a pediatric hospital in Macedonia before implementing the training for representatives of 10 hospitals in Serbia.  Erin has been an active member of ACLP since 1995 and is a former President of the organization.  Additional highlights of her leadership within ACLP include serving as a Board liaison for the Clinical Supervision Task Force, as chairperson for the Conference Planning Committee and the Child Life Certifying Committee, and the Internship Task Force, and as an inaugural member of the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee. 


08/28/2019 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
08/28/2019 at 2:30 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
1.50 PDU credits  |  Certificate available
1.50 PDU credits  |  Certificate available