Pain Management Compliance is one of the most critical issues for healthcare facilities in the country today. Read on to get an idea of what practices can be adopted to avoid the misuse of prescribed narcotics and consequently, reduce medico-legal and statutory liabilities.
Managing pain is an inevitable aspect of health care as most ailments come with some degree of pain. In cases where the pain is intolerable, physicians tend to prescribe narcotics like morphine to reduce the sufferer’s agony. While these medications are very helpful in alleviating pain, it is unfortunately very common to see people, especially the younger lot, getting addicted to them and misusing them even post-recovery. Pain medication overdose has shockingly overtaken motor vehicle accidents when it comes to the number of lives it has claimed. It is, therefore, clear why there has been such a great emphasis on laying down laws and regulations that control pain management protocols. For a healthcare entity, it is vital to establish checks and balances within conventional processes to ascertain pain management compliance.
Some examples of such measures are as follows:
- Documenting Pain Management Interventions – Including details of all medications prescribed to patients in their medical records is an excellent way to avoid potential abuse. It is also essential to record the subjective and objective assessments of the pain levels experienced so that there is sufficient data to back the choice of clinical intervention.
- Utilizing Assessment Techniques To Gauge Pain Levels – Many healthcare entities use pain charts that help nurses determine the intensity of pain. Such an evaluation can act as a good starting point for deciding the pain management drugs and their dosage.
- Scheduling Pain Screenings- Patients who require medication for a prolonged period should attend regular screenings, as required by law. Physicians can, at this time, reconsider their pain levels and adjust the pain medication prescriptions accordingly.
- Getting Pain Contracts Signed By Patients – Asking those on prescription narcotics to sign an agreement that clearly states the reasons for such prescriptions and the circumstances that could lead to their discontinuation is an excellent practice. Such a measure helps improve adherence and reduce risk especially in the case of patients who are more vulnerable to substance abuse.
- Ensuring Accuracy Of Paperwork – It is vital to make sure that patients who are being prescribed opioids for managing pain have truthfully completed the mandatory paperwork. This data includes demographics like their name and address, all of which needs to be legible. Submission of valid identification documentation is also equally critical. All this information is compulsory as part of the patient record.
- Communicating Regularly With All Specialists Involved – A patient might be consulting several physicians at a time. It is, therefore, essential for all these physicians to be on the same page as far as diagnosis and prescriptions are concerned. An integrated approach will help avoid duplicate orders.
- Storing Prescription Pads Safely – Locking up prescription pads and keeping an account of them is a good practice that can help avert theft and forgery. It is also critical to make sure that the paper used in these pads is counterfeit-resistant and not able to be photocopied.
- Educating Patients About The Risk Of Narcotics Abuse – Inform patients about the harmful effects of drug abuse to discourage them from misusing their prescriptions. Such an initiative can help achieve compliance in the area of pain management.
Pain Management Compliance is an aspect that no healthcare facility can afford to ignore. To avoid civil and criminal investigations that may lead to excessive fines and even a sealed practice, understanding and conforming to the legal guidelines that regulate clinical pain management protocols is crucial.
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