Articles the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) have been reading the week of July 2, 2018 ask us to consider 3 patient safety ideas to implement.
#1 Patient Safety to Implement – Remember that Some Patients Need Opioids
In the nation’s battle to curtail the use of opioids, there are patients who need them.
In a poignant reminder that there are patient who may need opioids, Rick Lunkenheimer writes about his “coming out of the closet” (as he puts it) and why he needs opioids to manage his pain:
“I am an opioid user.
“There, I said it. I’m “out of the closet,” per se.
“I have been fighting chronic back pain for the past 18 years and have been using opioids for the past eight. I am not addicted to the medication and do not take any more than my doctor prescribes.
“I am always cognizant of the threat that I may one day become addicted, or worse, that my tolerance levels will rise and I will need more and more pills to receive the same amount of relief. I have to fight off addiction, but more importantly, I need to fight off pain.
“The debate on the opioid crisis often overlooks chronic pain patients who take these medications responsibly. Many of us long for an affordable alternative to opioids, which have many adverse side effects.Remember that Some Patients Need #Opioids #opioidepidemic Click To Tweet
#2 Patient Safety to Implement – Make It Easier to Speak Up About Patient Safety
The US Department of Health & Human Services reminds us that it may be difficult to speak up about patient safety – “Difficulty speaking up about safety concerns is a prevalent safety culture deficiency.”
Allison Crawford, BSN, RN, CRNI writes that her hospital, Sentara Healthcare, has developed a simple way to speak up about patient safety:
“Speaking up about patient safety during a case can be intimidating, but it’s as easy as pushing a button for our staff. When a nurse or tech senses danger, she can push the safety concern button on our call system’s touchscreen display that’s mounted in every OR.”
#3 Patient Safety to Implement – Use Buprenorphine to Fight the Opioid Epidemic, but Use it Cautiously with Children
Buprenorphine is increasingly being used to help with opioid addiction. Unfortunately, a recent study has found that the use of buprenorphine can pose dangers when used with children:
“Between 2007 and 2016, more than 11,000 calls were made to U.S. poison control centers to report buprenorphine exposure in children and adolescents. Of those exposures, 86 percent occurred in children under the age of 6.”
The researchers recommend at least these two actions be taken when prescribing buprenorphine for children:
- unit-dose packaging for buprenorphine
- increasing education and awareness around the dangers of the drug to patients to whom it is prescribed.