Pain medication policy for patient safety
Due to certain medical conditions, some people experience chronic pain. Medications can be of great help in relieving pain when used appropriately, especially in short-term situations. Medical experts have determined that the medications used to treat acute pain are not always beneficial when dealing with long-term (chronic) pain. In cases of chronic pain, specialized doctors may be able to offer alternative treatments. Because addiction to prescription pain medication is increasingly becoming a societal issue in the region, our Emergency departments have adopted a policy ensuring safety for patients entering the ER with chronic pain symptoms.
Affinity Health System discourages the use of narcotics except when absolutely necessary for treatment purposes.
Following a thorough evaluation in the emergency room, patients who do not have an emergency situation requiring narcotic pain medication will not be prescribed narcotics.
We will not refill prescriptions for narcotic or sedative medications that have been lost or expired. Patients with chronic pain will be evaluated and, whenever possible, non-narcotic pain medications will be utilized.
We encourage patients to maintain an ongoing relationship with their prescriber, usually a primary care doctor or specialist treating the chronic pain.
For patients experiencing an emergency medical condition, the following limits are set:
- Before giving any necessary narcotic or sedative medication, the emergency provider will make sure a driver is present to take the patient home.
- If the ER provider must prescribe a narcotic to treat an acute emergency condition, only enough pills to last until the patient can see his or her primary care doctor or specialist will be prescribed.