CoxHealth Works to Educate Surgical Patients about Opioids

Aug 29, 2018

Prescription Medicine
Credit Charles Williams / Flickr

Anyone who goes in for surgery at CoxHealth will get some extra education about pain management and how to dispose of unused pain medication, including opioids. 

According to Joel Daniel, system medication safety pharmacist at CoxHealth, opioid medications are an effective and appropriate way to manage pain but only if used as directed.

"We want to make sure that medications are taken as prescribed and only for as long as we need," Daniel said.

A new system-wide opioid education program teaches surgical patients the importance of using opioids as prescribed, when to stop and what to do with leftover medicine when it’s no longer needed.

The Cox healthcare team also talks to patients about appropriate pain goals.  A pain score of zero isn’t always the best goal, according to Daniel.  They’ll also be given suggestions for ways to manage pain such as music therapy and aromatherapy. 

Daniel said it’s extremely important to educate patients about the safe use of opioids and to give health professionals an avenue to do that, "and having a cohesive and unified voice across the system will actually help, not only get the information out there, but also they're getting the same information regardless of if this is coming from a nurse or a provider in the clinic."

Education starts at the physician’s clinic and continues until the patient goes home from surgery.