Clemson’s Kappa Delta partners with Prisma Health Upstate to aid substance-exposed infants
CLEMSON — Kappa Delta of Clemson University has partnered with Prisma Health Upstate to provide community education and collect items for newborn supportive environmental care kits as part of a $10,000 KiDs grant awarded to its chapter and that of two other Upstate institutions, Furman University and Wofford College.
The grant aims to bring community awareness regarding child abuse and neglect, education on the growing opioid epidemic and to provide resources for drug-endangered children. Students from the three campuses have partnered with the injury and child abuse prevention teams within the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy located at the Patewood Center medical campus in Greenville, South Carolina.
The project hits home for Lindsay O’Toole, former president of Clemson’s Kappa Delta chapter and a current senior in the nursing program. She was a nurse extern and MedEx Academy student in Greenville for the past several years.
“As a GHS employee for the past five years and knowing how much our girls love to contribute to children in the area, I was eager to get our chapter involved,” O’Toole said. “As soon as I got the information to our women, everyone was excited to help. This grant takes our mission of preventing child abuse to a whole new level as it affects all of us here in the Upstate. We are beyond excited to promote the educational program taking place on our campus and to help serve the drug-endangered children of the Upstate in any way we can.”
As part of the continuing education, Kappa Delta hosted an educational program alongside Prisma Health Upstate Wednesday in Tillman Hall. Members of Kappa Delta will also be collecting items to make newborn supportive environmental care kits used in the hospital for infants with prenatal substance exposure who are at risk of withdrawal from birth. These include items not typically provided by hospitals, such as swaddle sacks, protective mitts, gowns, mechanical timers for safe sleep practices, special feeding bottles and pacifiers.
The kits are designed to help educate families and caregivers in the transition to home to continue supportive care.
“These kits will provide families immediate access to neuroprotective tools and strategies,” said Rebecca Grace Gratton, an occupational therapist who works with substance-exposed infants at Prisma Health Upstate. “These earliest of intervention tools — although they appear to be so ‘normal’ — will allow infants to develop effective regulation and coping strategies in their first days that may have otherwise been full of excessive stress and discomfort. With the latest research on infant stress and pain, we know prolonged periods of stress hormones can be detrimental to all areas of development, physically and psychologically. In addition, these items empower families to assume the role of caregiver in a situation that could otherwise feel medicalized and stigmatized.”