Over 2 million people each year switch to persistent opioid use after surgery, and nearly half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is calling on the healthcare community at large to utilize opioid-sparing pain management techniques to better prevent opioid addiction and abuse.
"The American opioid crisis is one of the most pressing healthcare issues of our time, and more than ever the healthcare community needs to come together to modernize opioid-prescribing criteria and utilize more effective, evidence-based solutions to pain management practices, to help prevent opioid addiction," said Bruce Weiner, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and president of the AANA.
One such approach is Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) – a patient-centered, evidence-based, pain management strategy employed by CRNAs to reduce the need for opioids, improve patient outcomes and reduce cost. Rather than relying on opioids as the primary tool, ERAS uses robust patient communication and opioid-sparing techniques, such as regional anesthesia, peripheral nerve blocks, non-pharmacologic approaches and non-opioid medications to control pain. Recent research also shows:
- ERAS provides an average savings of $880 to $5,560 per patient. ERAS reduces patient length of stay by 3-4 days on average.
- ERAS reduces 30-day patient readmission rates and costs.
- ERAS helps patients return to normal activities more quickly.