There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities out there, but we just found the best job — as a hospital baby cuddler, as Good Housekeeping reported. Yup, an Ohio hospital needs volunteers to cuddle opioid-addicted babies. You probably know that all babies need cuddling, but these babies ~really~ need cuddling. They’re born after having been prenatally exposed to opioids.
The hospital in question? The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, OH. Each year, it sees an average of 90 babies born addicted to opioids and having painful symptoms of withdrawal called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Signs and symptoms of NAS include everything from fussiness and excessive crying to body shakes and seizures, according to the March of Dimes.
NPR, too, has reported on babies born with prenatal opioid exposure. For instance, at Trinity Hospital in Steubenville, OH, 1 in 5 babies are affected, according to the acting CEO. In addition, other hospitals state that as many as 1 in 8 newborns have been exposed to opioids in the womb.
“I never want to see a baby suffer unnecessarily,” Dr. Graf said, reported NBC4 Columbus. “And if there are things we can be doing and programs we can build to help, then we’re going to do it. If you talk to any of our staff members that take care of these babies, and even the family members, they will tell you that their babies do better when they are held.”
The newborns receive medication to help with their NAS, and volunteers hold, rock, and quietly interact with them, reported NBC4 Columbus, particularly when parents and nurses cannot do so. If you’re interested, you’ll go through two rounds of interviews, a background check, test negative for tuberculosis, and meet Miami Valley Hospital’s volunteer requirements. Plus, there’s classroom and hands-on training.
For more information, you can check out Miami Valley Hospital’s website, or call their volunteer department at 937-208-2879. We wish we lived closer, but it’s definitely giving us #volunteerinspo for our local hospitals. Brb as we go do some investigating…