Effective Opioid Use Requires Strong Systems Management

By Caralyn Davis - September 11, 2018

Opioids remain a significant concern throughout the healthcare system. This past June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a roadmap outlining its ongoing and future plans to combat the national opioid epidemic. CMS’ approach starts with the prevention of new cases of opioid use disorder, which includes identifying and stopping the overprescription of opioids and promoting effective, non-opioid pain treatments.


“Opioid therapy is in the spotlight right now because of overuse and abuse of those medications today. However, they are very effective in relieving pain used when necessary,” says Susan LaGrange, RN, BSN, NHA, CDONA, FACDONA, CIMT, director of education for Pathway Health in Lake Elmo, MN. “To ensure effective opioid use, directors of nursing services (DNSs) need to be involved on two fronts. First, you have to be involved in the oversight of the facility’s pain management program, Second, you should also be involved in overseeing the facility’s system for monitoring opioid use.”


Taking the following steps can help DNSs ensure optimal opioid management: