Although the rate of prescribing opioids has begun to fall in the U.S., the misuse and abuse of opioids prescribed to patients with acute and chronic pain occurs at unprecedented levels.
Join speaker Catherine M. Ewing on Monday, May 21, from 4:45-5:45 p.m., in room 258A, to learn about the challenges facing nurses when balancing proper opioid management for postsurgical and post-trauma patients in the ICU.
During the session “Nurse’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic,” Ewing will define acute versus chronic pain and discuss recent changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations.
“The purpose of these guidelines is not to deny people pain medications but to prescribe safely and have prescribers practice follow-up,” says Ewing, a registered nurse from the Department of Anesthesia Inpatient Pain Service at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Ewing will discuss how patients are not all the same and how guidelines should be used as a starting point for treatment. In her institution, the surgical and trauma departments created a tiered system for pain levels that patients may experience from various procedures and injuries. These levels then help departments prepare appropriate guidelines for treatment recommendations.
“There is a short window for patients — usually about seven days — and if their acute pain is not being managed within that timeframe, it can become a turning point. Treatment needs to be addressed at this point, or it can become problematic,” she says.
In the session, Ewing will also cover how to inform patients about opioid diversion and the proper ways to dispose of unused medication, as well as the need to screen patients for anxiety and depression, and evaluate their functionality at the start of the medication.
She will also review the nurse’s role in consistent assessment and documentation, educating the patient and family, providing empathy and nonpharmaceutical options to the patient, and ensuring the patient and family have a plan in place when the patient is discharged.