Improving Outcomes in Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome With the Eat, Sleep, Console Method

Sarah Nicholson, Aksana Waskosky, Debra Moon, Pamela A. Harris-Haman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a significant public health concern. A quality improvement project was executed in a neonatal intensive care unit at a large urban hospital. The aim was to address the prolonged hospitalization of infants and exposure to medications to treat NAS. Purpose: The goal was to determine whether the eat, sleep, console (ESC) method decreases the length of stay (LOS) and morphine usage when compared with the Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System (FNASS). Methods: The inclusion criteria were 36 weeks' or longer gestation and exposure to opiates in utero. The FNASS method was replaced by the ESC method with a refocus on nonpharmacologic care. Data were collected for 6 months during implementation of the ESC method and compared with the 6 months prior to implementation. Results: The results of the project include: the average LOS decreased from 25.9 days to 13.7 days, a 47% reduction; the rate of scheduled morphine initiation decreased from 58% to 7%, an 88% reduction; as-needed morphine initiation decreased from 33% to 7%, a 79% reduction; and the rate of adjunctive medication initiation decreased from 17% to 0%, a 100% reduction. Implications for Practice and Research: The outcomes of LOS and rate of morphine usage were significantly improved when using the ESC method when compared with the FNASS at this facility. The results support future implications including expanding the ESC program to the well newborn population at this facility and other similar units. Further research needs to be done on long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Neonatal Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • console method
  • eat
  • ESC
  • Finnegan
  • NAS
  • neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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