Quality Circle

Responding to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Education to Provide Trauma-Informed and Family-Centered Care

About the Course

Responding to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome builds on the progress and education from the VON internet-based collaborative focused on improving care for opioid-exposed mothers and infants from 2014-2016. Teams participating during that time reduced length of stay on average from 21 days to 19 days. Some centers had even more substantial improvements, including reduction of LOS by 9.9 days per patient for a cost savings of nearly $430,000.

More importantly to families, teams also identified and implemented practices that kept mothers and infants together longer and reduced pharmacologic treatment.

This course includes updates in practices to address the impact of NAS on infants and families, including incorporation of the Eat, Sleep, Console assessment method.


View the First Lesson (login required)


This course includes nine video sessions over 8 hours and 20 minutes. CME and CNE will be awarded.

Lesson 1: NAS Landscape

  • The Prescription Opioid Epidemic and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – A Public Health Approach
  • NAS Presentation and Typical Course

Lesson 2: Virtual Video Visit

  • Linking Attitudes with Outcomes
  • Chapter 2: The Face of Trauma
  • Chapter 3: The Birth Story
  • Chapter 4: Stories of Hope and Recovery
  • Chapter 5: The Long Road Home

Lesson 3: Family Voices

  • Family Voices – Lessons from Families Affected by Substance Abuse and NAS
  • Mothers’ Voices: Lessons from Project NESST and the Center for Early Relationship Support

Lesson 4: Substance Use

  • Family Voices – Lessons from Families Affected by Substance Abuse and NAS
  • Mothers’ Voices: Lessons from Project NESST and the Center for Early Relationship Support

Lesson 5: Assessment

  • Eat, Sleep, Console
  • Scoring Redux: Pitfalls and Perils
  • Scoring: Cases, Controversies
  • Screening and Obtaining a Complete Drug History for Substance Use in Pregnancy
  • Lactation and the Substance-Exposed Mother-Infant Dyad

Lesson 6: Feeding and Nutritional Support

  • Lactation and the Substance-Exposed Mother-Infant Dyad
  • Engaging Families in Feeding and Nutritional Support

Lesson 7: Non-Pharmacologic Strategies

  • Non-Pharmacologic Strategies for Symptom Management
  • NAS Examining the Evidence: Controversies in Pharmacologic Management
  • Navigating the Legal Landscape – Care of Infants and Families Affected by NAS and Pragmatic Strategies to Manage Challenging Family Interactions

Lesson 8: Creating a High-Reliability NAS Program

  • NAS Presentation and Typical Course
  • Improved Family-Centered Care at Lower Cost and Improvement Story: Using Standardization to Create a High Reliability NAS Program,
  • Standardizing Care to Improve Outcomes

Lesson 9: Discharge

  • NAS: Homeward Bound – Clinical Case Study in Point
  • NAS: Assessment-Based Individuals Community Connection


Dr. Ron Abrahams

Erica Asselin

Joanna Celenza MA, MBA

Robert DiGiuseppe, MD

Nancy A. Eschbach, MSW, LCSW

Elisabeth Holland, RNC-e

Jodi Jackson, MD

Lauren Jansson, MD

Karol Kaltenbach, Ph.D

Erin L. Keels R.N., M.S., NNP-BC

Walter Kraft, MD

Jacqueline McGrath, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

Lenora Marcellus RN, PhD

Steven Ondersma, PhD

Adrienne Pahl, MD

Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS

Robert E. Schumacher, MD

Roger F. Soll, MD

Amy Sommer, MSW

Elizabeth R. Stanton, BA, MA, PA, JD

Imani Walker

Bonny Whalen, MD

Krisanna Deppen, MD

Jeffrey Horbar, MD

Community Support

Connect with other participants in this course and teams responding to neonatal abstinence syndrome. The VON Community Forum is a place to ask questions and share practices, guidelines, and new knowledge and experiences.

Visit the VON Community Forum

Turn Knowledge into Improvement!

VON Quality Circle members can participate in all courses and programs, including the iNICQ improvement collaborative for critical transitions. By participating in a VON collaborative, you and your team can apply structured quality improvement methodology to the lessons from this course to improve your center’s processes and practices related to opioid exposure for mothers and infants – and turn knowledge into improved outcomes for infants and families at your center.

See how focusing on processes and practices can improve health outcomes and help you achieve your QI goals. 

Responding to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a benefit of Quality Circle membership