In the wake of continued concerns surrounding opioid use and abuse and pain management, Newton Medical Center (NMC) announced today its commitment to addressing the growing epidemic.
Following a multi-month effort to evaluate
current processes and procedures, NMC issued a joint position statement of its
Board, Medical Staff and Administration that focuses on three key factors:
reducing opioid usage, improving monitoring and patient education, and
encouraging alternative pain management methods. The statement was authored by Charles Craig,
MD, in collaboration with the Medical Executive Committee and Hospital
Administration to reflect current best practices.
“We have an ethical responsibility to relieve
patient pain and suffering,” noted Newton Medical Center President and Chief
Executive Officer Vallerie Gleason. “This includes managing pain in a way that
will not cause future harm to the patient or our community.”
Reducing Opioid Usage
NMC patients will receive individualized care
since each patient’s needs are different when it comes to pain management. Physicians and medical staff will work
one-on-one with patients to utilize opioids as sparingly as possible during inpatient
care. Time-limited and total-dosage-
limited opioid use is a top priority for caregivers.
Medical staff will utilize K-TRACS and other
methods to screen for multi-prescriptions and/or multi-providers, including
veterinarians, where patients may be obtaining prescribed opioids. The prescribers may also consult with pharmacists
and others to minimize over-prescribing.
Improving Monitoring and Patient Education
Opioid prescriptions for chronic pain sufferers in an outpatient setting will be carefully controlled by the prescriber through a variety of strategies. These could include pain management contracts and tests to determine if the drug is being taken as prescribed. Methods to limit usage will also emphasize patient education with the encouraged use of other medications and forms of pain management such as physical therapy, stress management and exercise.
Encouraging Alternative Pain Management Methods
In addition to alternative pain methods
encouraged for chronic pain sufferers, NMC will offer a multi-modal pain
management plan in its hospital and clinics.
Medical staff will utilize a wide array of medications ranging from
acetaminophen to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to opioids
supplemented with other comfort measures such as ice packs, re-positioning,
movement, and staff presence. A complete copy of the Newton Medical
Center’s Position Statement on Pain Management and Opioid Use can be found at NMC Health’s Opioid Safety page.