Skip to main content

Memorial Hospital receives grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to support A New Life Prenatal Substance Abuse Treatment Program

October 15, 2017

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Every Tuesday, a small and home-like building near the Memorial Hospital campus is alive with activity, as a group of young women and newborns convene for what has become a weekly “can’t miss” gathering. Here they meet with a convivial team of RNs, nurse midwives, OB/GYNs, case managers, counselors and other support service providers to learn how to not just beat their addiction, but to also thrive with their new babies and become better parents and members of society.

A New Life, Memorial’s prenatal substance abuse program, is more than a routine prenatal office visit. It’s become a family-like environment where these new mothers, and soon-to-be-moms, share not only maternity and parenting tips, but also personal stories of overcoming substance misuse disorders that threatened their lives and the health of their babies.

And now the work being done with this group has been recognized and supported by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, who recently awarded Memorial Hospital an $82,100 grant. The grant will help further Memorial Hospital’s mission of providing the Mount Washington Valley accessible, comprehensive, compassionate quality healthcare by helping to sustain and expand the New Life prenatal substance abuse program.

The grant was part of a $3 million initiative funded by an anonymous gift to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to change outcomes for pregnant and newly parenting women and their babies affected by opioid and other substance use disorders.

Due to the growing number of prenatal women presenting with Substance Use Disorder, Memorial Hospital launched the program in 2016 to focus on the specific needs of these patients. A structured, comprehensive program promotes a coordinated, centralized care approach. By linking the Midwifery/Obstetric care and more involved treatment for Substance Use Disorder, the program improves the coordination of care, the patient experience, ongoing maternal success and newborn health.

The percentage of drug dependent newborns born to pregnant women with an opioid addition including heroin, at Memorial Hospital doubled in 2015 and continues to rise. In 2015 and 2016, Memorial’s rate of known opiate exposed babies was 5%. By the end of the first half of 2017, the rate has doubled to 10%.

The first year results of A New Life were impressive. 85% of mothers completed the program and graduated. 100% of babies were discharged home with their biological parents. The number of babies needing to be transferred to other hospitals has been greatly reduced by almost half – from 54% in 2015 to 28% for 2017 year to date.

Memorial Hospital President and CEO Scott McKinnon stated that the program was launched last year as an initiative of the hospital’s Women’s Health and Family Birthing Center practices. The nurse midwives, OB/GYN doctors and Birthing Center staff had seen first-hand the misery that the opioid epidemic created for vulnerable infants and their families.

“The staff was passionate in advocating for their patients and came forward to ask for our support in creating this service, which we did. It’s remarkable that a small rural hospital has been able to offer this program – Dartmouth Hitchcock is the only other New Hampshire hospital to do so. We’re proud of them and their initiative. Now with the support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, we can continue their good work.”

The program was recently recognized by New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who met with hospital administration and the New Life staff to learn more about the program and its results. It was also featured on CBS Evening News late last year as part of a report on the use of Baby Boxes to prevent SIDS, part of the weekly patient education A New Life provides to new moms.

The grant from NHCF will serve to solidify the clinical leadership necessary to sustain the program, and also to provide additional training for Memorial’s certified nurse midwives to provide the medication assisted treatment (MAT) that is a part of the substance abuse management. It will also provide funds for clinical education for staff and weekly patient education.

Marni Madnick, MD, one of the team of medical providers overseeing this program, shared, “Pregnancy often becomes a time when women struggling with addiction have new motivation to address their problems. Additionally, this population feels significant shame and lack of community. Our program is approaching these gaps by building connections - increased ongoing support from the medical care team as well as enhanced peer support.”

One mother in the program recently shared, ““This program has changed my life. It is my biggest support! The staff and other women are always there when you need anything or anyone to vent to. It offers a lot of help not only with sobriety but with so many resources to help continue our sobriety and things around the community to involve ourselves in with our children.”

  • Women enrolled in the program attend weekly to receive:
  • Group substance misuse counseling session with psychologist
  • Social Work support services (housing, transportation)
  • Prenatal care visit with Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Physician visit for pharmacologic management of opioid dependence
  • Healthcare coordination and healthcare follow up by RN coordinator
  • Complementary Therapies to support mental health (reiki, craniosacral massage, etc.)
  • Referrals to community support services
  • Education on various topics related to pregnancy, well-being and infant care

For more information about A New Life, go to www.memorialhospitalnh.org/newlife.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation was created in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire, and is dedicated to strengthening communities across the Granite State. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,700 philanthropic funds created by generous families, individuals and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving; supports critical work happening in New Hampshire communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.

About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, family birthing center, sleep center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services and the Miranda Center for Diabetes. Physician practices include primary care and family medicine, women's health, orthopedics and sports medicine. The Merriman House, a 45-bed nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, is also located on the hospital campus. Together, our staff and providers are committed to meeting the health needs of the Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities by collaborating with community partners in the delivery of accessible, comprehensive, compassionate, and quality health care.

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
Memorial Hospital Holds 41st Annual Golf Tournament to Support Enhancement of Pediatric Services
Memorial Hospital held its 41st Annual Golf Tournament on July 22 at the North Conway Country Club with 132 golfers in attendance.
MaineHealth makes significant workforce investment, raising wages for its care team members starting Aug. 8
In addition to a base wage increase for nearly all employees, the minimum pay rate across the health system will rise from $14 to $17 an hour, and market adjustments will be made for hard-to-fill roles.
Memorial ends its COVID emergency; stays prepared
Memorial’s emergency status – a ‘Code White’ – ends Friday July 16, 2021 after 494 days. Earlier this month, Memorial scaled back its COVID-19 vaccine administration and ended, at least for now, COVID-19 testing except as part of a health visit in the emergency department or walk-in clinic.
Memorial Hospital Changing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule to One Day per Week and Closing COVID-19 Testing Center
With declines in vaccinations and COVID-19 testing, Memorial Hospital plans to reduce hours at its COVID-19 vaccine clinic and limit COVID-19 testing to only those with symptoms and as part of a visit to the emergency department or walk-in clinic.
Memorial Hospital and Settlers Green Join for June 26 Vaccine Event
Memorial Hospital will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Settlers Green in North Conway on Saturday, June 26.
New Memorial Pediatrician Advocates “Whole-of-Society” Approach To Connect Kids With Resources
Dr. Charlotte Helvie, Memorial Hospital’s newest pediatrician, believes patient care happens as much in the community as in the exam room.
41st Annual Memorial Hospital Golf Tournament Tees Up, Supports New Cause
Memorial Hospital will host its 41st annual golf tournament on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at the North Conway Country Club.
Memorial Hospital Welcomes New Primary Care Physician with a Specialization in Rural Health
Like many during the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Peter Murphy, left the city for the mountains. Dr. Murphy, a new primary care physician at Memorial Hospital, he says he “always wanted to come back to rural medicine.”
Memorial COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Passes 10,000 Doses
The Memorial Hospital vaccine clinic administered its 10,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine yesterday (April 8, 2021).
High Scores for Merriman House in Recent State Survey
The residents and staff at Merriman House at Memorial Hospital are celebrating a deficiency free survey from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).