Sentinel Alert on Opioids Spotlights Provider Misuse
The alert pointed out the importance of assessing patients for pain thresholds. However, "notwithstanding the need for appropriate pain management," hospital providers should make staff aware of factors and activities that can help avoid accidental opioid overuse, such as assessing patients previous history of analgesic use or abuse, duration and possible side effects.
The alert advises providers to "Take extra precautions with patients who are new to opioids or who are being restarted on opioids," such as starting patients on a short-term trial at the lowest effective dose.
Patients at higher risk include those who snore, those who undergo upper abdominal or thoracic surgery, are receiving other sedating drugs such as benzodiazepines, antihistamines, diphenhydramine, sedatives, or other central nervous system depressants.
Risks also increase for those who are morbidly obese and also have sleep apnea, who have not recently used opioids, those who are under anesthesia for longer periods of time and for those who smoke cigarettes.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
- Proton Beam Therapy Poised for Growth in US
- 'Kafkaesque' Value System Unfairly Penalizes Doctor Pay
- mHealth Tackles Readmissions
- 4 Crucial Tactics for Reining in Healthcare Cost
- How Digital Strategy Shapes Patient Engagement at Boston Children's Hospital
- PA Ranks See 'Phenomenal Growth,' Lack of Diversity
- CNO Leads $1M Charge for New Scrubs, Uniforms
- Some Cancer Hospitals' Quality Data Will Soon Be Public
- Half of All Primary Care, Internal Medicine Jobs Unfilled in 2013
- How, and Why, to Recruit Male Nurses