Evidence Based Practice: Nursing Care of Infants Affected by Heroin Abuse

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Evidence Based Practice: Nursing Care of Infants Affected by Heroin Abuse
Christina Anderson
Cochise College
Lisa Benson
February 16, 2011

Evidence Based Practice: Nursing Care of Infants Affected by Heroin Abuse
According to Wang (2010), the prevalence of prenatally exposed newborns to one or more illicit drugs averages approximately 5.5 percent. Substance abuse during pregnancy can negatively affect the fetus and neonate. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center (n.d.), heroin is a highly addictive and rapidly acting opiate that is produced from morphine. According to Murray & McKinney (2010), the signs and symptoms observed in the neonate will be different depending on the type of drug used by the mother, but common signs seen in a neonate experiencing neonatal abstinence syndrome include: irritability, jitteriness, diarrhea, frequent regurgitation, and tachypnea. In cases where heroin is used, these signs and symptoms most commonly become apparent 1 and 144 hours after birth, and may last from 7 to 20 days (Cloherty, Eichenwald, & Stark, 2008).
Nursing Diagnosis
An appropriate nursing diagnosis for an infant experiencing withdrawal from heroin would be disturbed sensory perception related to altered sensory reception as manifested by irritability, jitteriness, and restlessness (Ackley & Ladwig, 2008; Cloherty, et al., 2008). This disturbed sensory perception could exacerbate the infant’s already increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and fluid loss due to regurgitation. It is important to calm to soothe the infant as much as possible in order to help alleviate other complications brought on by the withdrawal.
Current Nursing Practice
Sierra Vista Regional Health Center (SVRHC) has several policies in place related to maternal drug use. The first policy, titled Drug Screening (2010), states that newborns will be tested for drugs when…...

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