A Closer Look at the Joint Commission’s New Guidelines for Pain Assessment and Management

Photo © Burger / Phanie / Science Photo Library.

Starting on January 1, 2018, the Joint Commission’s new and revised pain assessment and management standards for accredited hospitals will go into effect. Notably, the guidelines—as we report in a November news article—address safe opioid prescribing practices.

Among new requirements, the Joint Commission says hospitals should:

  • Designate a leader or team responsible for pain management and safe opioid prescribing.
  • Include patients in developing a pain management treatment plan—including realistic expectations and measurable goals—and educate them on discharge plans related to opioid adverse effects and safe use, storage, and disposal of opioids.
  • Use prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) databases to identify patients at risk for opioid addiction.
  • Identify opioid addiction treatment programs for patient referrals.
  • Inform staff about consultation and referral services available for patients with complex pain management needs.
  • Collect and analyze data on pain assessment and management to identify areas in which safety and quality could be improved.

The full list of new and revised guidelines is available here. How might these changes affect life for nurses and patients? Comments are welcome below.

2017-11-17T08:48:30+00:00 November 17th, 2017|Nursing, pain management, patient experience|0 Comments

Update on Preeclampsia: What Nurses Need to Know

Illustration by Sara Jarret.

Preeclampsia is the most common hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, yet there is still much we don’t know about why it develops and how to prevent it. It can present in different ways, from hard-to-ignore symptoms such as constant headache or severe right upper quadrant pain, to no symptoms at all before elevated blood pressure or urine protein is detected at a routine prenatal visit.

Did you know that:

  • despite a long list of known risk factors, most cases of preeclampsia are diagnosed in healthy nulliparous women?
  • both moms diagnosed with preeclampsia and infants exposed to it in utero are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease?

Update your knowledge by reading “Preeclampsia:  Current Approaches to Nursing Management” in the November issue of AJN. This CE article provides a helpful clinical update, including the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, diagnostic criteria, screening tests on the horizon, 2017 recommendations for pharmacologic management, optimal timing of delivery, and nursing management.

2017-11-06T09:49:41+00:00 November 6th, 2017|Nursing, patient safety|0 Comments

Through Song, a Nurse’s Renewed Connection to An Ailing Mother

Illustration by Barbara Hranilovich for AJN.

Millions of Americans are now acting in some capacity as caregivers for an ailing parent. This month’s Reflections column is by a nurse who describes a moment in time as she helps to care for her home-bound and dying mother. Her mother remains, on occasion, as judgmental and offputting as the mother of her childhood.

But in such cases, there’s little to gain by dwelling on old disappointments and hurts—and in this instance, there are good memories as well.

The common language of song.

These good memories are primarily associated with her mother’s love of and talent for singing. “Moon River and Mom” describes this nurse’s experience of tending her mother’s leg wound as the Meals on Wheels man visits, and what happens afterward when the author prompts her mother to sing. […]

2017-11-03T07:50:46+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|family experience, Nursing, nursing stories|0 Comments

Despite Outreach Cuts, Open Enrollment for the ACA Underway

Open enrollment for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) starts tomorrow, and ends December 15, allowing people half the time to enroll compared with previous years. There is much confusion and misinformation surrounding the ACA, particularly after recent executive orders by President Donald Trump to stop cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.

In addition, budgets for ACA advertising and outreach have been slashed by the Trump administration this year, which will inevitably lead to fewer people getting covered.

Bridging the ACA outreach gap.

To help bridge the gap left by the reduction in outreach, advocacy groups such as Get America Covered are reaching out to inform the public about enrollment. And nursing groups such as the American Nurses Association have stated their commitment to informing patients on how and when they can enroll. Below is some information for patients who might be confused about the law and how it currently stands. […]

2017-10-31T11:36:37+00:00 October 31st, 2017|health care policy, Patients, Public health|0 Comments

The CAPABLE Program: Supporting Aging in Place

Determining what matters to homebound elders.

Sarah Szanton

This month, AJN profiles Sarah Szanton, who created a program known as CAPABLE—Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders—that helps low-income seniors to remain at home with the aid of a unique home care team.

Szanton, an NP who has provided care for homebound elders, notes that “[b]eing in someone’s home gives you the opportunity to see what matters to them.”

The “person–environment fit.”

Szanton’s keen interest in the “person–environment fit” of her frail elderly patients led her to a different perspective on managing illness—one focused less on the “medical model” and more on “function and being able to do what they would like to do.”

In 2008, after the NIH requested proposals for projects to help the newly unemployed, Szanton wondered whether people with home-building skills could be paired with elders to improve their independence and quality of life. And the idea for CAPABLE began to form.

A unique home care team: nurse, occupational therapist, handyman.

CAPABLE’s home care teams are made up of a nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handyman. The patient identifies functional goals such as “to be able to stand long enough to prepare a meal,” and the team devises a plan based on these goals. […]