HQIN Strategies to Use During Your Nursing Home Stand-Up Meetings (Opioids)

HQIN is presenting an educational series tailored for nursing home stand-up meetings, aimed at decreasing preventable emergency room (ED) visits and hospital readmissions. HQIN is sending out talking points that can be included in daily stand-up meetings to increase staff knowledge on relevant topics like effective communication, adverse drug events and infection prevention. The program is designed to empower nursing home staff with practical knowledge to foster a safer environment.

This week’s strategies include Adverse Drug Events – Opioids. Below is an overview of information and resources.

  • Adverse drug events are commonly experienced by people taking opioids as well as anticoagulants. Like anticoagulants, you will want to ensure staff caring for residents know which residents are at risk and what risk factors and sign/symptoms of adverse events may be. Discuss opioid risk factors, adverse event signs/symptoms and interventions using the Opioid Tip Sheet for Frontline Nursing and CMT Staff.
  • Using non-medication pain relief methods can decrease the need for opioids. Communicating with residents and families will help find the most effective pain relief methods for each patient. Sometimes facilities use methods like applying heat/cold, massage, ultrasound, or stretching exercises to help ease pain. Remember to evaluate things like positioning, bed choice and seating choice when you are working to reduce pain.
  • Knowledge of risk factors, signs and symptoms of adverse drug events, and the best ways to stay safe can prevent them and assist with early identification. Review your policy for medication education and explore Opioid Resources for Patients and Caregivers.
  • Opioids can be useful for controlling pain, but it is important to remember they carry a high risk for adverse events. Review the Opioid Adverse Drug Events Self-Assessment with your team. Use the Plan-Do-Study-Act Worksheet to work toward improvements.
  • Narcan (Naloxone) is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids. It is often discussed for treatment of overdose with illicit drugs but is often needed for people who are prescribed opioids. Every nursing home should have a policy for Narcan use. Review your facility’s policy with staff. Can staff identify where Narcan is kept and when it should be given? Post the Opioid Information Card to educate residents and caregivers.