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A Creative Alternative to Opioids: Implementing a Patient Comfort Menu

Credits: None available.


Purpose: Hospitals have an important role to play in combating our nation’s opioid epidemic. The purpose of this project was to identify creative solutions to mitigate inpatient opioid use through nursing education, patient and family engagement, and the use of an evidence-based, non-pharmacological comfort menu.

Description: An initial literature review was performed. Nurses on a general medical-surgical unit in a 56-bed mountain community hospital were surveyed regarding their knowledge about alternative methods for pain reduction. A comfort menu was then created based on recommendations from the literature and nursing knowledge of the hospital’s unique patient population. Nurses were educated on the comfort menu interventions in a variety of ways (peer-to-peer demonstration, tabletop displays, and written communication) and empowered to utilize them with their patients.

Evaluation/outcome: Evaluation included a qualitative post-survey, assessing utilization and effectiveness of the comfort menu in practice. All surveyed staff found the comfort menu to be useful to their patient care practice. Quantitative evaluations included unit-level pain score trends and opioid use, before and after implementation. Differences in pre- and post-pain scores showed a downward trend. Opioid usage during hospitalization decreased for 3 of the most common oral medications (percocet, tramadol, and norco).

Evidence-based references
1. Anderson, A. & Swedhin, A. (2017). What works: How can we make you more comfortable? Retrieved from https://www.myamericannurse.com/what-works-how-nurses-make-you-more-comfortable/
2. Blackburn, L. M., Abel, S., Green, L., Johnson, K., & Panda, S. (2019). The Use of Comfort Kits to Optimize Adult Cancer Pain Management. Pain Management Nursing, 20(1), 25–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmn.2018.01.004
3. Moreland Lewis, M., Kohtz, C., Emmerling, S., Fisher, M., and McGarvey, J. (2018). Nursing Research. Pain control and nonpharmacologic interventions. Nursing, 48(9), 65–68. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NURSE.0000544231.59222.ab



Credits: None available.

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