Caring for an Opioid Addicted Patient in a Medical Surgical Setting: Best Practice Recommendations

Caring for an Opioid Addicted Patient in a Medical Surgical Setting: Best Practice Recommendations

Identification: MSNN1902
Issue: March/April 2019
Volume: Volume 28 - Number 2
Credits (Post Test and/or Evaluation Required)
Available until 04/30/2021
  • 1.30 - CH


Healthcare facilities across the United States are amid the rising epidemic of opioid drug abuse in individuals with chronic pain due to clinicians liberally prescribing opioid analgesics. The misuse of prescription opioids is prevalent in young adults; however, the older adult population, ages 50 to 64, is the fastest growing opioid abusing population today. As the numbers for opioid misuse continue to increase in individuals with chronic pain, resources involving better pain management in healthcare facilities, preventative addiction counseling specific to opioid misuse, and better research must be available for patients, caregivers, and their families to combat this epidemic.

Learning Outcome:
After completing this continuing nursing education activity, the learner will be able to discuss best practices to care for opioid-addicted patients in the medical-surgical setting.

Learning Engagement Activity:

Identify 3 best practices that were employed with the patient and her husband in the case study.

Contact hours available until 4/30/2021.

Requirements for Successful Completion:

Complete the learning activity in its entirety and complete the online CNE evaluation.

Authors Conflict of Interest Disclosure:

The author(s), editor, editorial committee, content reviewers, and education director reported no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this continuing nursing education article.

Commercial Support and Sponsorship:

No commercial support or sponsorship declared.

Accreditation Statement:

This educational activity is jointly provided by Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. (AJJ) and AMSN.

Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC-COA)

Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered nursing, Provider Number, CEP 5387.

This article was reviewed and formatted for contact hour credit by Michele Boyd, MSN, RN, AMSN Education Director.


Credits Available

Expired On: Apr 30, 2021

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Paula Hallal
4/18/19 3:45 pm

great, very true to everyday medical surgical nursing

Rosemary Skiner
5/7/19 6:35 am

Unfortunately an every day occurrence on the med surg units! And perhaps worse in rural areas we have few to none when it comes to resources to help these patients!

Christina Redman
6/28/19 8:17 am

With all the new changes with opioids, I was glad to read this article.

Lisa Campbell
7/19/19 12:02 am

Very informative. I am glad that addiction is being taken seriously now. Just yesterday the narcotic consent form went into effect. It's a new state law to help hold both the provider and patient accountable.

Nina Swan
9/25/19 11:10 am

Great article and provides the best practice approach for care.

Sandra LaPointe
10/10/19 11:24 am

COWS assessment coupled with being a compassionate nurse will prove very helpful to pts experiencing opioid withdrawl.

Miriam Mburu
11/1/19 5:36 pm

This article outlines very good guidelines that can be followed and help our patient population .

Kirsten McLaughlin
11/21/19 6:49 pm

A chart of the of the scales of assesing readyness for treatment would have been useful

Floremil Aruejo
12/23/19 6:57 pm

great article that enlighten every health care worker

Kelly Pham
7/31/20 1:08 am

This was a great article for best practice.

Brenda Williams
8/25/20 10:37 am

Great article. True to life. Could imagine that same scenario happening in our hospital.

Allison Weech
2/11/21 10:12 am

Good topic. Presented information has increased the awareness of this patient population. Will have to undertake an in depth research of the community resources in my area to better assist these patients.

Ivory Pedral
7/9/21 2:22 pm

As addiction rates continue to rise, the number of addicted individuals in the healthcare field will increase as well. Caring for individuals who suffer from addiction can be frustrating or upsetting for healthcare workers in a medicalsurgical setting. The complexity of addiction can make it hard for families and/or caregivers to feel compassion towards these individuals. The best practices noted above can serve as a resource for nurses caring for an addicted individual in a medical-surgical setting – as seen in the sample case study at