New unit aimed at specialized care for NAS babies to open Wednesday at Niswonger Children’s Hospital


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Officials at the Niswonger Children’s Hospital announced the opening of a Special Care Unit, which will care for babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and other special needs.

According to a news release from Mountain States Health Alliance, around 30 percent of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the hospital are suffering from NAS, and the new unit was in response to the region-wide epidemic of babies with NAS.

The Special Care Unit has 17 private rooms to allow for a more specialized setting, as well as allows caregivers to control the noise and light levels in the room.

“This unit allows us to create an environment tailored to each baby’s individual needs,” Dr. Shawn Hollinger, a neonatologist with Niswonger Children’s Hospital, said. “We can keep the lights dim if that’s what the baby likes. We can keep it quiet if that’s what that baby likes; we can play some calming or soothing music if that’s what that baby likes. It also encourages breastfeeding and skin-to-skin bonding time.”

NAS happens when babies are born dependent on prescribed medications or other substances the mother has used during her pregnancy.

According to the release, money raised from the 2016 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon, the Champion Chevrolet Cadillac car raffle and Spirit Gala funded the project, which was around $500,000.

The Special Care Unit at the hospital is officially set to open on Wednesday, May 24.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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