AMDA Approves Policy Statement on Opioid Use in Nursing Homes

December 5, 2018

The board of directors of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care (PALTC) Medicine has approved a policy statement on opioid use in nursing homes. It calls for (1) providing access to opioids when indicated to relieve suffering and to improve or maintain function and (2) promoting opioid tapering, discontinuation, and avoidance when the above goals are not achievable in order to prevent adverse events, dependence, and diversion.

The statement also lists specific opioid stewardship principles for nursing homes, including the following:

  • Practitioners prescribing opioids must do so based on thoughtful inter-professional assessment
  • Practitioners managing patients who have been prescribed opioids are responsible for minimizing the risk of adverse events, dependency, and diversion
  • As part of the inter-professional team, medical directors are responsible for overseeing policies and processes that guide appropriate prescribing and use of opioids
  • Legislation, regulations, and other policies that prevent needed access to opioids for symptom relief are unacceptable

Read the entire statement here.

“In addition to the important clinical principles outlined in this statement, our public policy priorities regarding opioid use are to reduce the variability in state laws and regulations regarding opioid prescribing, while acknowledging the unique needs of the PALTC patient population,” says Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, the Society’s executive director. “This policy statement is a good step forward, and we will continue working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and other national organizations to address appropriate opioid use in PALTC settings as well as opioid misuse and diversion.”


About the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and