SANFORD, N.C., Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare organizations are spearheading and facilitating opioid stewardship programs across the country, and in Kentucky, many of those efforts are being led by nurse anesthetists. In celebration of National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week, DisposeRx, Inc. highlights two CRNAs driving change to prevent addictions and protect their fellow citizens.
John M. Edwards, III, MS, CRNA, works at Baptist Health Lexington, and while he has grown increasingly more concerned about opioid addictions through the years, the tipping point was recent research that revealed "new persistent opioid use" as a common complication following surgery.
"The research was startling, because we are conditioned to think of infection and blood clots (DVT/PE) as common complications—not persistent drug use and abuse," Edwards said. "It really had an impact on us, especially when you consider that we are practicing in a state and community that have been greatly and negatively impacted by the opioid crisis."
Edwards and his colleagues developed a multidisciplinary acute pain service that practices opioid-sparing analgesia with a heavy reliance on ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia (USGRA). These methods allow them to personalize and optimize care for each patient during and following surgery.
"It is a given that patients are going to experience pain during and following surgical procedures, but we have opioid-responsible tools, medications and methods available to us to provide safe and individualized care for each patient. Our patients' outcomes and recoveries have been optimized, which is helping surgeons and other providers re-think their 'opioids first' prescribing patterns for pain management," Edwards added.
At Baptist, the team is building the Opioid Stewardship Program based on three pillars: prevent patients from developing new persistent opioid use; protect patients from long-term opioid use and the community from the diversion of opioids that fuel the opioid epidemic; and educate patients and communities about the risks of opioids.
As part of the program, Baptist—through financial support from its Foundation—began offering the DisposeRx program of at-home medication disposal packets and patient education in 2019. The packets are distributed through the Meds to Beds program, as well as the hospital's retail pharmacy.
"Rolling out DisposeRx is one of many facets of our program, and it actually hits on all three of our goals for the program," said Edwards. "We are making good progress and are eager to continue to spread the word."
Edwards shared information about the Baptist program with Jana Bailey, CRNA, who is president of the Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists (KyANA), and she and the KyANA board decided to add Opioid Stewardship to their platform for 2020.
Bailey customized DisposeRx patient engagement materials, and along with donated packets, will begin educating the 1,000+ members of the Association and encouraging them to share information even more broadly and specifically to rural pharmacists throughout the state.
"Most of the large retail pharmacies are distributing DisposeRx to patients, but we want to make sure that the smaller, independent pharmacies are aware of this cost-effective packet that is available to them and their patients for medication disposal," Bailey said.
The KyANA program begins January 19, 2020 and will run through at least October.
"All of us at DisposeRx are grateful to have program champions such as John and Jana, and we are delighted to support their initiatives in Lexington and throughout the state," said Carol Dorn Sanders, DisposeRx SVP of Marketing and Communications. "Patients and the broader healthcare community are fortunate to have them serving as excellent CRNAs and also leading the way to help curb the opioid public health crisis."
About DisposeRx Packets DisposeRx at-home medication disposal packets are comprised of materials that are FDA-approved for oral medications and provide a simple, convenient and effective solution for the disposal of unused or expired medications. The active ingredient in the medication is chemically and physically sequestered in a polymer gel when water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a prescription vial and shaken. Patients can use the patented product with pills, tablets, capsules, liquids and powders and can then throw away the vial in the household trash.
About DisposeRx, Inc. DisposeRx, Inc., a North Carolina-based company, is dedicated to decreasing the risks of drug diversion, overdoses, accidental poisonings and antibiotic resistance by facilitating medication management behavior change and eradicating the misuse of leftover medications. DisposeRx's patented drug disposal packets and education programs are currently available at almost 50% of retail pharmacies and through 90% of the wholesale pharmacy and medical distributors across the nation. For more information, visit DisposeRx.com.