ST. LOUIS – The WISH Center at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital provides comprehensive, high-risk maternity care for women who are affected by opioid dependency.

WISH stands for Women and Infant Substance Help. Because of WISH’s comprehensive pre- and post-natal care, the Center was honored with the 2022 Achievement Citation Award from the Catholic Health Association (CHA) for its commitment to our region’s health and our mission. The program uses MAT therapy (Medication Assisted Treatment), a comprehensive care model to treat persons with opioid use disorder. 

At the WISH Center, people receive care from a variety of specialists, all in one place. The OB physicians specialize in addiction medicine and complex pregnancies. Nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers, substance use counselors, and more are available during regular appointments.

These services have made it possible for pregnant and postpartum women to receive screenings for behavioral health conditions, connection with regular peer support groups and case management. Close relationships with community partners have also given local mothers access to essential baby items and technology such as phones and tablets. 

Jackie Seabaugh, WISH Center head nurse says the center helps women connect to resources like peer support groups and behavioral health. 

“We have psychiatry services in our program, and the patients don’t need to go to an outside service to help with their mental health, Seabaugh said.

When it is time for delivery, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital provides an exceptional patient experience for all. Thanks to a highly trained labor, postpartum, and pediatric team designed for the specific needs of opioid exposed moms and babies, the focus remains on keeping families and their babies together. Labor and postpartum pain are managed, families are supported in learning soothing techniques to become experts on their own babies, and the length of stay is minimized, all in a warm, accepting, and stigma-free environment.

After delivery, care is continued in the AfterCare Program when the risk of relapse is greatest. This includes partnering with outside organizations for such things as job skills, housing, life skills and parenting to help moms maintain their sobriety.

To learn more about the WISH Center services at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.