Category:Chronic Pain

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Tips for managing chronic pain

Above is a link to a pdf for "10 Steps to Managing Chronic Pain"

Overview

We do have some chronic pain patients, but not as many as other facilities.

Our current guideline recommends not starting any patients <45 years old on chronic narcotic pain medications. You should use the Opioid Risk Tool (Ad Hoc form) and PQRSTU questions with chronic pain patients.

For any patients on chronic narcotics, we have a controlled substance agreement we ask patients to sign every 6 months. Along with a controlled substance agreement, you should require Behavioral Health assessment, Physical Therapy assessment, and ACT Pain Assessment. You may tie monthly refills to completing these appointments.

As often as possible, have all narcotic refills completed with the primary care provider. If that is not possible, either talk to the PCP, or one of the other providers on the pain contract. In any case, make sure to only prescribe what is on the pain contract.

Our goal is that we do not have any patient with more than #60 doses of a short-acting narcotic pain medication. We recommend that if you have a patient that is requiring more than #60 doses of short-acting narcotics a month, they be moved over to a long-acting agent.

Please make sure when doing a pain agreement with a patient to talk about our strict policy of not using marijuana, alcohol, or illegal substances while taking narcotics. We utilize pill counts and urine toxicity screens to help us monitor how patients’ medications are being taken.

We have a three strike policy for a controlled substance agreement being permanently cancelled. Strikes are decided upon by the Interdisciplinary Chronic Pain Committee which meets monthly and reviews all chronic pain patients. Letters are sent out by the committee to notify the patient of any strikes and consequences. If a patient has three strikes in a 12 months period, they can be permanently cancelled from receiving chronic narcotics here at YKHC. After a one year grace period, they can send the committee a letter to ask to be reconsidered.

Complete the "Opioid Risk Tool" ad hoc form and for the HPI, include the "..hpichronicpain" autotext to make sure you ask the correct questions when seeing pain patients.

Outpatient/SRC Clinic Controlled Medication Management Policies

  1. The Pain Committee is an interdisciplinary committee constructed to adopt the responsibility of pain management for our chronic pain patients, effectively removing individual provider responsibility for e.g., discontinuing a pain contract.
  2. Any provider may refer a patient to the Pain Committee by placing a referral in PowerChart/FirstNet (Refer to Pain Committee Internal)
  3. Questions regarding pain management issues should be referred to the Chronic Pain Pharmacist, not to individual providers.
  4. The Chronic Pain Pharmacist will assist in tracking refills, strikes, expired pain agreement etc.
  5. To help reduce the call burden on providers, patients calling with questions about narcotic refills should be referred to the pharmacy.
  6. Letters regarding pain management will only be sent out by the Pain Committee, not by individual providers. Any communication regarding agreements being cut off, or warnings really need to come from that entity, not from any specific provider.
  7. The Pain Committee, not individual providers, will be in charge of monitoring pain contracts, contract infractions (i.e., strikes), and keeping records. Any information about a positive drug screen etc., can be forwarded to our Chronic Pain Pharmacist.
  8. Providers are not responsible for monitoring illegal drug activity. That is a law enforcement issue. Our job as health care providers is to provide compassionate treatment for our patients. Some of the patients will do illegal things with their medication, but let the law enforcement experts deal with that. If you suspect that diversion is occurring, you can report it to the Bethel PD or State Troopers (for villages) and they can investigate.
  9. SRC providers may do pain contracts if needed, but may also refer patients to the Pain Committee for recommendations if there are questions. If there are patients who are requesting long term narcotics that you feel uncomfortable with, do not prescribe them and feel free to refer that patient to the Pain Committee.
  10. We also have a Suboxone Program for opioid use disorder and you may refer patients for an assessment by the Opioid MAT at 543-6772 (Opioid Case Manager).

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