Category: Practices & Tips

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Opioids: 3 Things Clinicians Can Do to Improve Patient Safety and the Quality of Patient Care

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder & Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Our Opioid Dichotomy

Opioids are something we love and hate, all at the same time. On the one hand, they are a great pain reliever and are often used to provide analgesia and supplement sedation during general anesthesia or monitored anesthesia care. On the other hand, opioids can be addictive and too much opioids can lead to opioid overdose and death. Justine Igwe (Nursing Student in Nigeria at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus) recently wrote about opioids’ pain relief vs. addiction/overdose dichomotomy:

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How Family Caregivers Can Help Healthcare Professionals Provide Better Care

By John Schall, CEO of Caregiver Action Network, and Joy Yoo (Data Analyst, Houston Methodist Research Institute; Researcher, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

The Key Role of Family Caregivers in Delivering Healthcare

Family caregivers have become an essential key to providing patient care. As Richard Adler & Rajiv Mehta of the National Alliance for Caregiving write:

Millions of Americans are currently providing care for a family member, friend, or neighbor, typically because of illness, injury, or frailty. Their efforts range from providing emotional support and helping with routine household tasks to providing care 24×7 and carrying out complex medical procedures. Though those receiving care are of all ages, the amount of caregiving will certainly rise as our population ages.

Many of the functions that caregivers play are similar to those provided by nurses. It is therefore essential that healthcare professionals work collaboratively with caregivers to ensure that their patients are receiving the optimal care.

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Better Asthma Control Starts with Correct Inhaler Use

Better Asthma Control Starts with Correct Inhaler Use

By Sara Malik (asthma patient studying to go to medical school)

After getting diagnosed with severe asthma at the tender age of three, friends and family often reassured my parents that I would “eventually grow out of it” and that it was probably just “seasonal allergies.” Yes, it is true that seasonal changes can trigger asthma and that many people may outgrow this condition once they reach or pass adolescence. However, it is crucial to recognize that once an individual has developed a sensitive respiratory tract, their airways remain susceptible to asthma triggers for life.

The World Health Organization defines asthma as a long-term disease in which the “air passages in the lungs become narrow due to inflammation and tightening of the muscles around the small airways.” Asthma is a chronic disease that I have never grown out of it, and at this point, I do not know if I ever will. But, I now recognize this is okay because I have learned to accept this reality. I instead direct my energy toward finding ways to achieve and maintain my definition of a “normal” lifestyle. As a patient dealing with this condition for nearly two decades, I have learned a lot about my body and mind, which have played a significant role in helping me control my asthma.

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Who needs to wear an SCD and How long Should SCDs Be Worn?: An Interview with Dr. Amy Campbell on Preventing Blood Clot

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder & Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

CDC estimates that almost one million Americans suffer from venous thromboembolism (VTE), also known as blood clots. VTE is a term that is comprised of two medical conditions deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in one or more of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs, and pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a blood clot in a pulmonary artery in the lungs. 

According to the CDC:

  • As many as 100,000 people die of blood clots each year.
  • PE is a leading cause of death in a woman during pregnancy or just after having a baby.
  • Blood clots are a leading cause of death in people with cancer after cancer itself.

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Misinformation can be Catastrophic for Cardiovascular Patients

By Andrea Baer (Executive Director, The Mended Hearts, Inc.) and Michael Wong, JD (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Making sure you have correct medical information—rather than misinformation (i.e., false information)—could save you from being admitted to the hospital or even save your life.

There is a lot of medical information and education on cardiovascular disease, particularly on the internet. But with that comes the problem of misinformation. Finding trustworthy information can be challenging, and relying upon wrong information can have health ramifications. Just because something is on the internet does not mean it’s medically true.

Misinformation

To read the complete article, please go to Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare by clicking here.

Identifying Patients At Risk of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression

Identifying Patients At Risk of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Opioid-induced respiratory depression can lead to serious adverse events and even death, in hospitalized patients. In its Sentinel Event Alert #49, titled “Safe use of opioids in hospitals”, the Joint Commission stated, “While opioid use is generally safe for most patients, opioid analgesics may be associated with adverse effects, the most serious effect being respiratory depression, which is generally preceded by sedation.” The alert was retired as of February 2019 and is now addressed in the commission’s pain management standards for hospitals.

About half of in-hospital cardiorespiratory events occur on the general care floor. Often these events are fatal. Lars W. Andersen, MD (Department of Medicine, Regional Hospital Holstebro, Aarhus University & Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) and his colleagues concluded that acute respiratory events are common in inpatient wards in the US and are associated with a mortality rate of almost 40%.

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3 Myths About Strokes: Don’t Let These Misconceptions About Strokes Affect Your Health

3 Myths About Strokes: Don’t Let These Misconceptions About Strokes Affect Your Health

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Stroke Myths You Should be Aware of for National Stroke Awareness Month

This month of May is National Stroke Awareness Month. In thinking about National Stroke Awareness Month, I immediately thought of my friend, Mark McEwen, who most people know as a reporter for CBS:

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Misinformation is a Patient Safety Issue

Misinformation is a Patient Safety Issue

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Misinformation is a Patient Safety Issue

As the Executive Director for the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, I oversee our blog. I have the responsibility on a weekly basis for writing and vetting articles submitted to us for publication.

Many people rely upon PPAHS for health information (our articles receive more than 10,000 views per month). As we are not a health news agency, we don’t specialize in discussing the latest breaking news – we leave that in the hands of others. 

Rather, the PPAHS blog and website are filled with information and resources that may help improve patient safety and the quality of patient care. This information and resources are not “breaking news,” but rather a considered consolidation of best practices, clinical trial evidence, and experience. Understandably, then, the 10,000 plus website views that we receive each month are usually articles that were written months and even years ago. Hence, we must be extra diligent about citing misinformation.

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4 Tips for Caregiver Burnout

4 Tips for Caregiver Burnout

Editor’s note: In this guest post, Anna Preston, a consultant with Live-In Care Hub, a UK non-profit organization, discusses how being a caregiver can be challenging and provides resources to help manage the stresses of being a caregiver.

By Anna Preston (Live-In Care Hub, a UK non-profit)

Working in the care sector can have its ups and downs, but caregivers may suffer from caregiver burnout. But, there’s no doubting that it is one of the most rewarding jobs you can ever do if you are the kind of person who is able to cope no matter what challenges and situations may arise.

Caring for someone in a professional capacity can be demanding as well as rewarding. This is especially the case if you are providing live-in care services. You’ll be expected to provide a range of care services depending on how much care the client needs. These can range from personal care and domestic support to accompanying them on outings and appointments and looking after the family pet if needed. This is why some caregivers, whether professional or family members, sometimes reach a point where they feel they can’t cope.

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