Quality can be improved by using many different tools. Quality can be increased by using numbers, reports and metrics. Quality can be changed by using the opinions of staff and patients through different surveys.
But a very important way to advance quality is through innovations in patient care, with pain management as a focus. UF Health Jacksonville is embarking on a very unique and complex approach in treating pain.
National focus has been placed on narcotic-prescribing practices. That is good because it can help prevent addiction and deaths from opioid overdose. Many states, including Florida, have passed legislation for opioid prescribing. Unfortunately, the legislation passed in Florida that took effect July 1 will potentially create problems for the high-acuity, severely injured patients we serve. Alberto Ardon, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of anesthesiology who specializes in acute pain medicine, is leading our campus’ efforts to proactively address this.
Evidence-based pain management protocols are being used to make sure our patients have effective pain management care plans. These plans include appropriate narcotics and many non-narcotic medications. The protocols include the successful pain management techniques of early movement and stretching, icing and elevation. Nursing has created comfort care packs with sleeping masks, ear plugs and other items to increase personal comfort. By using this combination approach, our patients are using less opioid medication and reporting better pain control.