Home Intervention for in Utero Drug-Exposed Infants

Arlene M. Butz, Mary Kathleen Lears, Siobhan O'Neil, Peter Lukk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Each year in the United States, around 5.5% (or 230,000) infants are born to mothers who used illicit drugs during pregnancy. The untoward effects of in utero drug exposure (IUDE) include significant decreases in birthweight and length and head circumference, prematurity, and developmental problems. Intensive early intervention, including home-based interventions, is recognized as an effective method to improve cognitive development and reduce health problems in these high risk infants and children. Examination of home visit records of 20 IUDE infants during their first year of life revealed frequent health and social problems. Infectious disease symptoms were the most frequent problem encountered in the home during the physical assessment of the infants. Of note was the mothers' lack of basic parenting information (understanding signs of illness, basic nutrition, and infant development) which was then provided by the nurse during each home visit. Of concern was the lack of drug treatment sought by these mothers. Findings support the view that home visiting should be incorporated into the discharge planning of any IUDE infant in order to maintain these infants in the health care system and monitor their safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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