Baystate Franklin gets $1M for moms in addiction

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/11/2019 7:19:11 AM

GREENFIELD – A program at Baystate Franklin Medical Center designed to help pregnant women with opioid use disorder have healthy babies and pursue healthier futures is poised to expand after receiving a two-year, $1 million federal grant.

The EMPOWER program currently serves approximately 30 women and families in Franklin County each year. It is a community-based program, created by the Franklin County Perinatal Support Coalition, to help women suffering from addiction. It promotes healthy pregnancy and birth, providing parenting support and encouraging long-term recovery.

The grant will allow Baystate Franklin to partner with the Center for Human Development to form a medical/behavioral health service that will provide expanded support to pregnant, postpartum and parenting women, ages 18 or older, with an opioid addiction and/or a history of opioid overdose.

“Since 2015, EMPOWER has successfully focused on supporting families during pregnancy and birth, but we have always wanted to extend our support to include the postpartum period, when research shows mothers can be vulnerable to depression and relapse,” said Linda Jablonski, assistant nurse manager at Baystate Franklin.

Jablonski will lead the initiative along with CHD’s vice president of behavioral health services, Katherine M. Cook. CHD will spearhead the behavioral health component of the program.

“Our agency will complement the work of EMPOWER by providing the counseling and support services that are absolutely essential to long-term recovery, successful parenting and self-care,” she explained in an announcement from the hospital.

The money comes from the Moms Do Care program of the state  Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

Moms Do Care programs emphasize the importance of peer-to-peer support; partnering women with other women who are in recovery and have been specially trained to work with women with opioid addiction. Women enrolled in similar programs elsewhere in the state report positive outcomes such as abstinence from substance use, reduction in opioid overdose, reduction in trauma and increases in recovery supports, according to Baystate Franklin. The Franklin County program will offer peer support through recovery coaches and doulas, trained professionals who provide physical, emotional and informational support to women before, during and after childbirth.

“Pregnancy can be an ideal time for women to get the help they need with (addiction); however, they face obstacles such as stigma, guilt and fear as they try to access services. Despite being the most rural county in the state, Franklin County has excellent resources and a strong commitment to serving this vulnerable population. The additional services we’ll be able to provide with Moms Do Care funding will not only help the women and families we serve, but will have a positive impact our community as well.” said Jablonski.

According to the 2015 Health Policy Commission report, the Birthplace at Baystate Franklin had the second highest neonatal abstinence rate in western Massachusetts and the eighth highest in the state.

The Moms Do Care EMPOWER program is scheduled to launch early this year.


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