New opioid guidelines arrive not a moment too soon

December 7, 2018

Following my C-section earlier this year, I was fortunate to be able to access heavy-duty pain medication. Until we discovered my pain pump wasn’t working.

That was unfortunate, but luckily I was young(ish), in good health(ish) and had a new baby. But as AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care (PALTC) Medicine President Cari Levy, M.D., Ph.D., recounts, many nursing home professionals have stories of people they’ve cared for who couldn’t access pain medication.

“Everybody has one of those in their brains, where the resident was suffering,” she told me Thursday following the announcement of new guidelines from AMDA. “We had to get prescriptions faxed, and it was a weekend and there were all of these hurdles. That’s so unnecessary. That’s a lot of what drives the motion around it.

AMDA has two main goals with its new policies: One, “provide access to opioids when indicated to relieve suffering and to improve or maintain function” and two, “Promote opioid tapering, discontinuation and avoidance of opioids when the above goals are not achievable, to prevent adverse events, dependence and diversion.”