PEDIATRICS recent issues

Mandatory Vaccination in Europe

BACKGROUND:

Mandatory vaccination has been effective in maintaining high vaccination coverage in countries such as the United States. However, there are no peer-reviewed analyses of the association between mandates and both coverage and subsequent incidence of vaccine-preventable disease in Europe.

METHODS:

Using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization, we evaluated the relationship between country-level mandatory vaccination policies and (1) measles and pertussis vaccine coverage and (2) the annual incidence of these diseases in 29 European countries. Multivariate negative binomial and linear regression models were used to quantify these associations.

RESULTS:

Mandatory vaccination was associated with a 3.71 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.68 to 5.74) percentage point higher prevalence of measles vaccination and a 2.14 (95% CI: 0.13 to 4.15) percentage point higher prevalence of pertussis vaccination when compared with countries that did not have mandatory vaccination. Mandatory vaccination was only associated with decreased measles incidence for countries without nonmedical exemptions (adjusted incidence rate ratio = 0.14; 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.36). We did not find a significant association between mandatory vaccination and pertussis incidence.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mandatory vaccination and the magnitude of fines were associated with higher vaccination coverage. Moreover, mandatory vaccination was associated with lower measles incidence for countries with mandatory vaccination without nonmedical exemptions. These findings can inform legislative policies aimed at increasing vaccination coverage.

State-of-the-Art Renal Imaging in Children

Imaging modalities for diagnosing kidney and urinary tract disorders in children have developed rapidly over the last decade largely because of advancement of modern technology. General pediatricians and neonatologists are often the front line in detecting renal anomalies. There is a lack of knowledge of the applicability, indications, and nephrotoxic risks of novel renal imaging modalities. Here we describe the clinical impact of congenital anomalies of the kidneys and urinary tract and describe pediatric-specific renal imaging techniques by providing a practical guideline for the diagnosis of kidney and urinary tract disorders.

Reducing Variation in the Management of Apnea of Prematurity in the Intensive Care Nursery

BACKGROUND:

Premature infants have bradycardia and/or desaturation events due to apnea of prematurity that resolve as the infants mature. Despite American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommending a standard "event-free" period before discharge, length of observation in our Intensive Care Nursery was variable. By June 2018, for infants born <36 weeks’ gestation in the Intensive Care Nursery, we aimed to standardize time to discharge after the last documented event at 5 days, when the baseline mean was 3.6 days (range 0–6 days).

METHODS:

A quality-improvement team used the Model for Improvement. Plan-do-study-act cycles improved nursing documentation of events and standardized discharge criteria after consensus on operational definitions. The outcome measure was days to discharge after last documented event. Process measures included percentage of events documented completely and correctly in the electronic medical record. Balancing measure was length of stay after 36 weeks’ corrected gestational age. We used statistical process control.

RESULTS:

The baseline event watch ranged from 0 to 6 days. After defining significant events, documentation expectations, and consensus on a 5-day "watch" before discharge, the event watch range narrowed with a mean that shifted from 3.6 to 4.8 days on X-bar S statistical process control chart. Completeness of documentation increased from 38% to 63%, and documentation of significant events increased from 38% to 88%. Length of stay after 36 weeks’ corrected gestational age was unchanged, and nursing satisfaction improved.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found decreasing variation in the management of apnea of prematurity while simultaneously improving staff satisfaction. Next steps include revising electronic medical record flowsheets and spread to network NICUs.

Digital Technology Distraction for Acute Pain in Children: A Meta-analysis

CONTEXT:

Digital distraction is being integrated into pediatric pain care, but its efficacy is currently unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effect of digital technology distraction on pain and distress in children experiencing acutely painful conditions or procedures.

DATA SOURCES:

Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Xplore, Ei Compendex, Web of Science, and gray literature sources.

STUDY SELECTION:

Quantitative studies of digital technology distraction for acutely painful conditions or procedures in children.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Performed by 1 reviewer with verification. Outcomes were child pain and distress.

RESULTS:

There were 106 studies (n = 7820) that reported on digital technology distractors (eg, virtual reality and video games) used during common procedures (eg, venipuncture, dental, and burn treatments). No studies reported on painful conditions. For painful procedures, digital distraction resulted in a modest but clinically important reduction in self-reported pain (standardized mean difference [SMD] –0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI] –0.66 to –0.29; 46 randomized controlled trials [RCTs]; n = 3200), observer-reported pain (SMD –0.68; 95% CI –0.91 to –0.45; 17 RCTs; n = 1199), behavioral pain (SMD –0.57; 95% CI –0.94 to –0.19; 19 RCTs; n = 1173), self-reported distress (SMD –0.49; 95% CI –0.70 to –0.27; 19 RCTs; n = 1818), observer-reported distress (SMD –0.47; 95% CI –0.77 to –0.17; 10 RCTs; n = 826), and behavioral distress (SMD –0.35; 95% CI –0.59 to –0.12; 17 RCTs; n = 1264) compared with usual care.

LIMITATIONS:

Few studies directly compared different distractors or provided subgroup data to inform applicability.

CONCLUSIONS:

Digital distraction provides modest pain and distress reduction for children undergoing painful procedures; its superiority over nondigital distractors is not established. Context, preferences, and availability should inform the choice of distractor.

Well-Child Care Adherence After Intrauterine Opioid Exposure

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

For children with intrauterine opioid exposure (IOE), well-child care (WCC) provides an important opportunity to address medical, developmental, and psychosocial needs. We evaluated WCC adherence for this population.

METHODS:

In this retrospective cohort study, we used PEDSnet data from a pediatric primary care network spanning 3 states from 2011 to 2016. IOE was ascertained by using physician diagnosis codes. WCC adherence in the first year was defined as a postnatal or 1-month visit and completed 2-, 4-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month visits. WCC adherence in the second year was defined as completed 15- and 18-month visits. Gaps in WCC, defined as ≥2 missed consecutive WCC visits, were also evaluated. We used multivariable regression to test the independent effect of IOE status.

RESULTS:

Among 11 334 children, 236 (2.1%) had a diagnosis of IOE. Children with IOE had a median of 6 WCC visits (interquartile range 5–7), vs 8 (interquartile range 6–8) among children who were not exposed (P < .001). IOE was associated with decreased WCC adherence over the first and second years of life (adjusted relative risk 0.54 [P < .001] and 0.74 [P < .001]). WCC gaps were more likely in this population (adjusted relative risk 1.43; P < .001). There were no significant adjusted differences in nonroutine primary care visits, immunizations by age 2, or lead screening.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children <2 years of age with IOE are less likely to adhere to recommended WCC, despite receiving on-time immunizations and lead screening. Further research should be focused on the role of WCC visits to support the complex needs of this population.

Cost-effectiveness of Imaging Protocols for Suspected Appendicitis

BACKGROUND:

Inaccurate diagnosis of appendicitis leads to increased costs and morbidity. Ultrasound costs less than computed tomography (CT) or MRI but has lower sensitivity and may not visualize the appendix.

METHODS:

We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis using a decision-analytic model of 10 imaging strategies for suspected appendicitis in a hypothetical cohort of patients: no imaging with discharge or surgery; CT only; MRI only; or staged approach with CT or MRI after 1) negative ultrasound result or ultrasound without appendix visualization, 2) ultrasound without appendix visualization, or 3) ultrasound without appendix visualization but with secondary signs of inflammation. Inputs were derived from published literature and secondary data (quality-of-life and cost data). Sensitivity analyses varied risk of appendicitis and proportion of visualized ultrasound. Outcomes were effectiveness (quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]), total direct medical costs, and cost-effectiveness (cost per QALY gained).

RESULTS:

The most cost-effective strategy for patients at moderate risk for appendicitis is initial ultrasound, followed by CT if the appendix is not visualized but secondary signs are present (cost of $4815.03; effectiveness of 0.99694 QALYs). Other strategies were well above standard willingness-to-pay thresholds or were more costly and less effective. Cost-effectiveness was sensitive to patients’ risk of appendicitis but not the proportion of visualized appendices.

CONCLUSIONS:

Tailored approaches to imaging based on patients’ risk of appendicitis are the most cost-effective. Imaging is not cost-effective in patients with a probability <16% or >95%. For moderate-risk patients, ultrasound without secondary signs of inflammation is sufficient even without appendix visualization.

Congenital Toxoplasmosis Presenting as Eosinophilic Encephalomyelitis With Spinal Cord Hemorrhage

A 4-week-old male neonate with a history of intermittent hypothermia in the newborn nursery presented with an acute onset of bilateral lower extremity paralysis and areflexia. Extensive workup demonstrated eosinophilic encephalomyelitis and multifocal hemorrhages of the brain and spinal cord. Funduscopic examination revealed bilateral chorioretinitis with macular scarring. The laboratory values were notable for peripheral eosinophilia and cerebrospinal fluid eosinophilic pleocytosis (28 white blood cells/µL, 28% eosinophils), markedly elevated protein (1214 mg/dL), and hypoglycorrhachia (20 mg/dL). Toxoplasma gondii immunoglobulin M (IgM) test result was positive. Reference testing obtained at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Toxoplasma Serology Laboratory confirmed the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis in the infant with a positive immunoglobulin G (IgG) dye test result, immunoglobulin A enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and IgM immunosorbent agglutination assay. The diagnosis of an infection acquired during gestation in the mother was established by a positive maternal IgG dye test result, IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin E, and low IgG avidity. At 6-month follow-up, the infant had marginal improvement in his retinal lesions and residual paraplegia with hyperreflexia and clonus of the lower extremities. A repeat MRI demonstrated interval development of encephalomalacia with suspected cortical laminar necrosis and spinal cord atrophy in the areas of previous hemorrhage. Clinicians should be aware of this severe spectrum of congenital toxoplasmosis disease and should remain vigilant for subtler signs that may prompt earlier testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

Cognition After Early Tonsillectomy for Mild OSA

OBJECTIVES:

It remains uncertain whether treatment with adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnea in children improves cognitive function. The Preschool Obstructive Sleep Apnea Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy study was a prospective randomized controlled study in which researchers evaluated outcomes 12 months after adenotonsillectomy compared with no surgery in preschool children symptomatic for obstructive sleep apnea.

METHODS:

A total of 190 children (age 3–5 years) were randomly assigned to early adenotonsillectomy (within 2 months) or to routine wait lists (12-month wait, no adenotonsillectomy [NoAT]). Baseline and 12-month assessments included cognitive and behavioral testing, medical assessment, polysomnography, and audiology. The primary outcome was global IQ at 12-month follow-up, measured by the Woodcock Johnson III Brief Intellectual Ability (BIA). Questionnaires included the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire, Parent Rating Scale of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children–II, and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Preschool Version.

RESULTS:

A total of 141 children (75.8%) attended baseline and 12-month assessments, and BIA was obtained at baseline and 12-month follow-up for 61 and 60 participants in the adenotonsillectomy versus NoAT groups, respectively. No cognitive gain was found after adenotonsillectomy compared with NoAT, adjusted for baseline; BIA scores at 12-month follow-up were as follows: adenotonsillectomy, 465.46 (17.9) versus NoAT, 463.12 (16.6) (mean [SD]). Improvements were seen for polysomnogram arousals and apnea indices and for parent reports of symptoms (Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire), behavior (Behavior Assessment System for Children behavioral symptoms, P = .04), overall health, and daytime napping.

CONCLUSIONS:

Structured testing showed no treatment-attributable improvement in cognitive functioning of preschool children 12 months after adenotonsillectomy compared with NoAT. Improvements were seen after adenotonsillectomy in sleep and behavior by using polysomnogram monitoring and parental questionnaires.

Subacute Neuropsychiatric Syndrome in Girls With SHANK3 Mutations Responds to Immunomodulation

Phenotypic and biological characterization of rare monogenic disorders represents 1 of the most important avenues toward understanding the mechanisms of human disease. Among patients with SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 3 (SHANK3) mutations, a subset will manifest neurologic regression, psychosis, and mood disorders. However, which patients will be affected, when, and why are important unresolved questions. Authors of recent studies suggest neuronal SHANK3 expression is modulated by both inflammatory and hormonal stimuli. In this case series, we describe 4 independent clinical observations of an immunotherapy responsive phenotype of peripubertal-onset neuropsychiatric regression in 4 girls with pathogenic SHANK3 mutations. Each child exhibited a history of stable, mild-to-moderate lifelong developmental disability until 12 to 14 years of age, at which time each manifested a similar, subacute-onset neurobehavioral syndrome. Symptoms included mutism, hallucinations, insomnia, inconsolable crying, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, loss of self-care, and urinary retention and/or incontinence. Symptoms were relatively refractory to antipsychotic medication but improved after immunomodulatory treatment. All 4 patients exhibited chronic relapsing courses during a period of treatment and follow-up ranging from 3 to 6 years. Two of the 4 girls recovered their premorbid level of functioning. We briefly review the scientific literature to offer a conceptual and molecular framework for understanding these clinical observations. Future clinical and translational investigations in this realm may offer insights into mechanisms and therapies bridging immune function and human behavior.

Prenatal Repair of Myelomeningocele and School-age Functional Outcomes

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), a randomized trial of prenatal versus postnatal repair for myelomeningocele, found that prenatal surgery resulted in reduced hindbrain herniation and need for shunt diversion at 12 months of age and better motor function at 30 months. In this study, we compared adaptive behavior and other outcomes at school age (5.9–10.3 years) between prenatal versus postnatal surgery groups.

METHODS:

Follow-up cohort study of 161 children enrolled in MOMS. Assessments included neuropsychological and physical evaluations. Children were evaluated at a MOMS center or at a home visit by trained blinded examiners.

RESULTS:

The Vineland composite score was not different between surgery groups (89.0 ± 9.6 in the prenatal group versus 87.5 ± 12.0 in the postnatal group; P = .35). Children in the prenatal group walked without orthotics or assistive devices more often (29% vs 11%; P = .06), had higher mean percentage scores on the Functional Rehabilitation Evaluation of Sensori-Neurologic Outcomes (92 ± 9 vs 85 ± 18; P < .001), lower rates of hindbrain herniation (60% vs 87%; P < .001), had fewer shunts placed for hydrocephalus (49% vs 85%; P < .001) and, among those with shunts, fewer shunt revisions (47% vs 70%; P = .02) than those in the postnatal group. Parents of children repaired prenatally reported higher mean quality of life z scores (0.15 ± 0.67 vs 0.11 ± 0.73; P = .008) and lower mean family impact scores (32.5 ± 7.8 vs 37.0 ± 8.9; P = .002).

CONCLUSIONS:

There was no significant difference between surgery groups in overall adaptive behavior. Long-term benefits of prenatal surgery included improved mobility and independent functioning and fewer surgeries for shunt placement and revision, with no strong evidence of improved cognitive functioning.

Global Health Opportunities in Pediatric Fellowships

BACKGROUND:

Interest in global health (GH) among pediatric residents continues to grow. GH opportunities in pediatric fellowship programs in the United States are poorly described. We aimed to evaluate GH offerings among accredited general and subspecialty pediatric fellowship programs and identify implementation barriers.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional study by pediatric GH educators from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Global Health Learning Community and the American Board of Pediatrics Global Health Task Force. Fellowship program directors and GH educators at accredited US pediatric fellowship programs were surveyed. Data were analyzed by using descriptive and comparative statistics.

RESULTS:

Data were obtained from 473 of 819 (57.8%) fellowship programs, representing 111 institutions. Nearly half (47.4%) offered GH opportunities as GH electives only (44.2%) or GH tracks and/or fellowships (3.2%) (GHT/Fs). Pretravel preparation and supervision were variable. Programs offering GH opportunities, compared to those without, were more likely to report that GH training improves fellow education (81.9% vs 38.3%; P < .001) and recruitment (76.8% vs 35.9%; P < .001). Since 2005, 10 programs with GHT/Fs have graduated 46 fellows, most of whom are working in GH. Of those with GHT/Fs, 71% believe national accreditation of GH fellowships would define minimum programmatic standards; 64% believe it would improve recruitment and legitimize GH as a subspecialty.

CONCLUSIONS:

GH experiences are prevalent in accredited US pediatric fellowship programs, and programs offering GH perceive that these opportunities improve fellow education and recruitment. Responses suggest that standards for GH opportunities during fellowship would be useful, particularly regarding pretravel preparation and mentorship for trainees.

Long-term Puberty Suppression for a Nonbinary Teenager

Many transgender and gender-diverse people have a gender identity that does not conform to the binary categories of male or female; they have a nonbinary gender. Some nonbinary individuals are most comfortable with an androgynous gender expression. For those who have not yet fully progressed through puberty, puberty suppression with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists can support an androgynous appearance. Although such treatment is shown to ameliorate the gender dysphoria and serious mental health issues commonly seen in transgender and gender-diverse young people, long-term use of puberty-suppressing medications carries physical health risks and raises various ethical dilemmas. In this Ethics Rounds, we analyze a case that raised issues about prolonged pubertal suppression for a patient with a nonbinary gender.

Clinical Response to Discordant Therapy in Third-Generation Cephalosporin-Resistant UTIs

OBJECTIVES:

To describe the initial clinical response and care escalation needs for children with urinary tract infections (UTIs) resistant to third-generation cephalosporins while on discordant antibiotics.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective study of children <18 years old presenting to an acute care setting of 5 children’s hospitals and a large managed care organization from 2012 to 2017 with third-generation cephalosporin-resistant UTIs (defined as the growth of ≥50 000 colony-forming units per mL of Escherichia coli or Klebsiella spp. nonsusceptible to ceftriaxone with a positive urinalysis). We included children started on discordant antibiotics who had follow-up when culture susceptibilities resulted. Outcomes were escalation of care (emergency department visit, hospital admission, or ICU transfer while on discordant therapy) and clinical response at follow-up (classified as improved or not improved).

RESULTS:

Of the 316 children included, 78% were girls and the median age was 2.4 years (interquartile range 0.6–6.5). Children were evaluated in the emergency department (56%) or clinic (43%), and 90% were started on a cephalosporin. A total of 7 of 316 children (2.2%; 95% confidence interval 0.8%–4.5%) experienced escalation of care. For the 230 children (73%) with clinical response recorded, 192 of 230 (83.5%; 95% confidence interval 78.0%–88.0%) experienced clinical improvement. In children with repeat urine testing while on discordant therapy, pyuria improved or resolved in 16 of 19 (84%) and urine cultures sterilized in 11 of 17 (65%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Most children with third-generation cephalosporin-resistant UTIs started on discordant antibiotics experienced initial clinical improvement, and few required escalation of care. Our findings suggest that narrow-spectrum empiric therapy is appropriate while awaiting final urine culture results.

Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues are commonly prescribed to suppress endogenous puberty for transgender adolescents. There are limited data regarding the mental health benefits of this treatment. Our objective for this study was to examine associations between access to pubertal suppression during adolescence and adult mental health outcomes.

METHODS:

Using a cross-sectional survey of 20 619 transgender adults aged 18 to 36 years, we examined self-reported history of pubertal suppression during adolescence. Using multivariable logistic regression, we examined associations between access to pubertal suppression and adult mental health outcomes, including multiple measures of suicidality.

RESULTS:

Of the sample, 16.9% reported that they ever wanted pubertal suppression as part of their gender-related care. Their mean age was 23.4 years, and 45.2% were assigned male sex at birth. Of them, 2.5% received pubertal suppression. After adjustment for demographic variables and level of family support for gender identity, those who received treatment with pubertal suppression, when compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it, had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio = 0.3; 95% confidence interval = 0.2–0.6).

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first study in which associations between access to pubertal suppression and suicidality are examined. There is a significant inverse association between treatment with pubertal suppression during adolescence and lifetime suicidal ideation among transgender adults who ever wanted this treatment. These results align with past literature, suggesting that pubertal suppression for transgender adolescents who want this treatment is associated with favorable mental health outcomes.

Thyroid Storm in a Toddler Presenting as a Febrile Seizure

Although simple febrile seizures are relatively common and benign in toddlers, it is important to rule out any underlying critical disease that necessitates further intervention and treatment. Thyroid storm, the extreme manifestation of hyperthyroidism, is relatively rare and not often considered in the differential diagnosis of a febrile seizure despite its high mortality rate. Here, we report 1 of the youngest patients with thyroid storm, who initially presented with a febrile seizure. After reevaluation, the 2-year-9-month-old patient was discovered to have thyromegaly, which led to recognition that her persistent tachycardia and widened pulse pressure were likely signs of thyrotoxicosis. Laboratory results were consistent with primary hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease. Thyroid storm was then diagnosed on the basis of clinical features including gastrointestinal and central nervous system disturbances. Treatment with methimazole, propranolol, hydrocortisone, and Lugol’s iodine solution was used. This medication regimen was safe and effective with restoration of a euthyroid state after 2 months and no recurrence of seizures. Improved awareness of hyperthyroidism and thyroid storm can lead to prompt diagnosis and treatment of this endocrine emergency, thus reducing mortality and morbidity. Pediatricians should consider this diagnosis in children with febrile seizures and suggestive vital signs and physical examination findings.

Techniques to Communicate Better With Parents During End-of-Life Scenarios in Neonatology

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Clinicians are urged to optimize communication with families, generally without empirical practical recommendations. The objective of this study was to identify core behaviors associated with good communication during and after an unsuccessful resuscitation, including parental perspectives.

METHODS:

Clinicians from different backgrounds participated in a standardized, videotaped, simulated neonatal resuscitation in the presence of parent actors. The infant remained pulseless; participants communicated with the parent actors before, during, and after discontinuing resuscitation. Twenty-one evaluators with varying expertise (including 6 bereaved parents) viewed the videos. They were asked to score clinician-parent communication and identify the top communicators. In open-ended questions, they were asked to describe 3 aspects that were well done and 3 that were not. Answers to open-ended questions were coded for easily reproducible behaviors. All the videos were then independently reviewed to evaluate whether these behaviors were present.

RESULTS:

Thirty-one participants’ videos were examined by 21 evaluators (651 evaluations). Parents and actors agreed with clinicians 81% of the time about what constituted optimal communication. Good communicators were more likely to introduce themselves, use the infant's name, acknowledge parental presence, prepare the parents (for the resuscitation, then death), stop resuscitation without asking parents, clearly mention death, provide or enable proximity (clinician-parent, infant-parent, clinician-infant, mother-father), sit down, decrease guilt, permit silence, and have knowledge about procedures after death. Consistently, clinicians who displayed such behaviors had evaluations >9 out of 10 and were all ranked top 10 communicators.

CONCLUSIONS:

During a neonatal end-of-life scenario, many simple behaviors, identified by parents and providers, can optimize clinician-parent communication.

Engagement in Early Intervention Services Among Mothers in Recovery From Opioid Use Disorders

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Opioid-exposed infants frequently qualify for early intervention (EI). However, many eligible families choose not to enroll in this voluntary service. This study aims to understand the perceptions and experiences that may impact engagement with, and the potential benefits of, EI services among mothers in recovery from opioid use disorders (OUDs).

METHODS:

We conducted semistructured qualitative interviews (n = 22) and 1 focus group (n = 6) with mothers in recovery from OUDs in western Massachusetts. Transcripts were coded and analyzed by using a descriptive approach.

RESULTS:

The mean participant age was 32 years, and 13 had a high school degree or less. Five major themes emerged revealing mothers’ development through stages of engagement in EI services: (1) fear, guilt, and shame related to drug use (emotions acting as barriers to enrollment); (2) the question of whether it is "needed" (deciding whether there is value in EI for opioid-exposed infants); (3) starting with "judgment" (baseline level of perceived stigma that parents in recovery associate with EI); (4) breaking down the "wall" (how parents overcome the fear and perceived judgment to build partnerships with providers); and (5) "above and beyond" (need for a personal connection with mothers and concrete supports through EI in addition to the child-focused services provided).

CONCLUSIONS:

Barriers to engagement in EI among mothers in recovery from OUDs include a range of emotions, perceived stigma, and ambivalence. An effort to purposefully listen to and care for mothers through a strengths-based, bigenerational approach may help establish greater connections and foster stronger EI engagement among families affected by OUDs.

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