Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Lessons Learned from a Survey Assessing Nurses’ Awareness and Perceptions of Opioids and the Impact of Postsurgical Pain Management Medication Interventions

[Editor’s note: Amy Smalarz led the survey research. Lynn Razzano assisted with the article writing, but was not involved with the design, conduct, or analysis of the survey.]

By Amy Smalarz PhD, MHA (President and Co-Founder, Strategic Market Insight) and Lynn Razzano RN, MSN, ONCC (Clinical Nurse Consultant, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Postsurgical pain management with opioids is tricky business. Not only do you have to think about which medication delivery interventions to use (PCA IV opioids, continuous wound infiltration, continuous epidural or femoral nerve block to name a few), but you must consider the type and amount of medication, then responsibly monitor the patient effectively. We know all too well about the dangers and challenges of ensuring the effectiveness of the medication as well as the safety of the patients; for example, The Joint Commission issued Sentinel Event Alert #49 and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices recently issued yet another Medication Safety Alert. Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Addressing The Joint Commission Opioid Warnings: A Case Study from Wesley Medical Center on Reducing Respiratory Depression and Improving Patient Safety

By Sean Power and Michael Wong

(This article first appeared in Becker’s Clinical Quality & Infection Control.)

Respiratory depression has been associated with the use of opioid analgesics. However, a recent study by researchers at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., suggests exhaled CO2 monitoring of patients using patient-controlled analgesia pumps could help reduce the occurrence of this adverse event. Specifically, Debra Fox, MBA, RRT-NPS, and Mark Wencel, MD, examined respiratory depression rates with the use of PCA pumps and intermittent IV opioids for pain management. Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Health Experts Discuss Four Flawed Monitoring Practices

by Sean Power

Recently four health experts participated in a webinar on The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Alert on the safe use of opioids. On the panel were patient safety experts including Dr. Frank Overdyk, Professor of Anesthesiology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine; Ray Maddox, Director of Clinical Pharmacy, Research and Pulmonary Medicine at St. Joseph Candler; Tammy Haslar, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Franciscan Alliance at St. Francis Health, and Debbie Fox, Director of Respiratory Care at Wesley Medical Center.

The panel discussed the role of continuous monitoring in opioid safety. To watch the entire webinar, please click here. Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Patient Safety Checklist Helps Address Opioid Warnings from TJC: Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety checklist supports Sentinel Event Alert on opioid hazards

By Sean Power and Michael Wong

This article is reprinted with the permission of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH).  Improving patient safety is one of the most urgent issues facing healthcare today. PSQH is written for and by people who are involved directly in improving patient safety and the quality of care. Read More