Many of us have read through FMLA paperwork describing things we can do to assist our employees with acute or chronic pain. These instructions may ask us to pad the floor by their desks or give extended breaks to allow employees to rest their impacted area(s) of pain.
One area that we often neglect is a discussion of how the pain is being managed. Is this employee taking powerful drugs that may sedate them? Are these drugs addictive? What could happen if our employee takes too much? Do you have customers that may be taking opioids for pain?
There has been a four-fold increase in deaths over the last decade from opioid overdose (v et al., 2018). Recent work has noted that over forty-eight million Americans suffer from severe and chronic pain (Chidgey and Murphy, 2017). Chidgey and Murphy noted that “the number of opioids prescribed for the treatment of both acute and chronic pain has quadrupled” since 1999 (2017). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown a at least a 25 percent annual increase in overdose fatalities on the job since 2012 (BLS, 2017).
The National opioid epidemic is clearly on our doorsteps but what can we do to help our teams?
Our employees can benefit from bystander education. It is associated with better overdose recognition and overdose response by the administration of the life saving several drug Naloxone (Giglio et al., 2015).
For the second annual Healthcare Simulation Awareness Week, let’s discuss simulation techniques and tools to improve team safety and communication. Below is an example of how every office can use a simple simulation to help prepare team members for an opioid crisis in their office.
Arrange a meeting and have one or two team members act “different”. Be a few minutes late to the meeting yourself to give the team plenty of time interact and recognize that something is “not quite right” with their colleague(s). Your actors can act drowsy, mentally confused, euphoric, or pick other behaviors often associated with opioid overdose (SAMHSA, 2015).
When you arrive at the meeting, debrief the team on their interactions while waiting. What did they notice that was different? Did they ask questions to try to figure out what was going on with them? Have any of them ever experienced an interaction like this?
The need for the use of Naloxone in the field to save lives is becoming more widely recognized (Wheeler et al. 2015). More and more first responders are starting to carry the drugs needed to reverse an opioid overdose, If your workplace has decided to add Naloxone to the safety equipment available on site, discuss administration. If not, this sets up an opportunity to discuss if it is needed.
Follow up in a few days with a coworker or customer having a mock crisis somewhere in the office and debrief using the TeamSTEPPS® tools. https://blog.shrm.org/blog/six-tools-for-improving-communications-with-t...
#HcSimWeek18 and #PainAwarenessMonth
Chidgey BA, Murphy BA. Evidence-Based Medicine and Regulatory Oversight: Opioid Prescribing for Treatment of Pain. N C Med J. 2017 Sep-Oct;78(5):310-311. doi: 10.18043/ncm.78.5.310.
Giglio RE, Li G, DiMaggio CJ. Effectiveness of bystander naloxone administration and overdose education programs: a meta-analysis. Inj Epidemiol. 2015 Dec;2(1):10.
Heavey SC, Chang YP, Vest BM, Collins RL, Wieczorek W, Homish GG. 'I have it just in case' - Naloxone access and changes in opioid use behaviours. Int J Drug Policy. 2018 Jan;51:27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.09.015.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015. Substance Use Disorders https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 2017. National census of fatal occupational injuries in 2016. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cfoi_12192017.pdf
Wheeler E, Jones TS, Gilbert MK, Davidson PJ. Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs Providing Naloxone to Laypersons — United States, 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 64(23);631-635 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6423a2.htm
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