A new tool to curb opioid addiction

Nurse Leader Insider, September 14, 2017

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Opioid addiction is a national crisis, and clinicians around the country our trying to find ways to limit opioid prescriptions and find other solutions for pain management. The EMPOWER study is one such effort. Over a five-year period, the study will look at 400 non-cancer patients who are being treated using long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain at University of Cincinnati Health and Duke Health. In addition to studying the effect of opioid treatment, the study will also explore the effectiveness of alternative pain-management methods.

One of the methods EMPOWER will study is Goalistics Chronic Pain Management Program, a web-based pain management tool that educates patients about pain management and provides a variety of exercises and self-assessments that bring a psychological approach to pain management. Early trials have been limited, but they have shown a decrease in patients’ pain and reduced opioid use.

Marian Wilson, RN, PhD
, an assistant professor at Washington State University College of Nursing, is joining the EMPOWER study, along with lead investigator Theresa Winhusen, PhD, director of the Addiction Sciences Division in the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “It’s a really difficult situation telling people, ‘Sorry, you can’t have your opioids, but we’re not really giving you an alternative,’” Wilson said. “[An online pain management program could be] a lifeline extended to patients, another tool to help manage pain. It’s something that can give them some hope and show that people understand what they’re going through.”

To read more about pain management, visit the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room:
Virtual reality a potential solution for pain management
Spotlight on pain management
Facility cuts timelines, develops a standardized pain tool

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