The distribution program has been very successful. Staff simply include the naloxone and instructions for use in a family first aid kit given to all new parents. By including naloxone in the kit, along with band aids, a thermometer and a CPR mask, the hospital normalizes it as a first aid tool and staff are given the opportunity to educate patients on how and when to use it. Staff learn about the kits during their employee training, so distributing the kits has become a routine part of post-partum care. Patients can decline the naloxone, but most patients choose to bring it home with them. In the first two months of this year, 21 of 22 patients chose to bring home the naloxone. The kits are grant-funded or free from Healthy Lincoln County, and the naloxone is provided free by the state.
The naloxone kits were first piloted at Franklin Memorial Hospital’s birthing unit in 2021-22 by Nell Tharpe, CNM, and Dr. Jay Naliboff, members of the Perinatal Quality Collaborative for Maine (PQC4ME). PQC4ME is an initiative under the Maternal Child Health programs at the Maine Medical Association Center for Quality Improvement. PQC4ME is a stakeholder and member driven collaborative. PQC4ME’s Universal Postpartum Naloxone Distribution Program has three objectives: educate hospital staff and providers on the effects of stigma and implicit bias, educate birthing families on overdose recognition and naloxone use, and improve coordination with community harm reduction resources. They accomplish this by connecting community agencies and birthing unit staff while increasing naloxone saturation in the community through distribution of the first aid kits. PQC4ME works in collaboration with Healthy Lincoln County and the Healthy Community Coalition at Franklin Hospital to make sure that naloxone is distributed into the community where it is most needed.