Quality statements

The Opioid Analgesic Stewardship in Acute Pain Clinical Care Standard includes nine quality statements describing the key components of care for the management of acute pain to optimise patient outcomes and reduce the potential for opioid-related harm.

Quality statements

The quality statements describe the expected standard for key components of patient care. By describing what each statement means, they support:

  • Patients to know what care may be offered by their healthcare system, and to make informed treatment decisions in partnership with their clinician
  • Clinicians to make decisions about appropriate care
  • Health service organisations to understand the policies, procedures and organisational factors that can enable the delivery of high-quality care.

Some quality statements are linked to indicators to support monitoring of quality improvement. Follow the links below to read each quality statement in full.

Goal

To ensure the appropriate use and review of opioid analgesics for the management of acute pain to optimise patient outcomes and reduce the potential for opioid-related harm.

Scope

This clinical care standard relates to the care of people of all ages with acute pain for whom opioid analgesics may be considered or prescribed. It covers patients presenting with acute pain to the emergency department (ED) or following surgery, up to and including, discharge from hospital.

It includes care provided by relevant members of the interdisciplinary team, such as specialist services for paediatrics, acute pain services, drug and alcohol services, clinical pharmacy services and allied health services.

What is not covered

This clinical care standard does not cover:

  • Management of the following pain conditions with opioid analgesics
    • chronic non-cancer pain
    • cancer pain
    • pain in palliative care
    • labour and delivery pain
  • Management or treatment of opioid use disorders
  • Patients presenting to emergency services or hospital ED

Healthcare settings

This standard applies to care provided in the following care settings:

  • All hospital settings, including public and private hospitals, subacute facilities, and outpatient and day procedure services
  • Emergency services, including ambulance services.

In this document, the term ‘clinician’ refers to all types of healthcare providers who deliver direct clinical care to patients, including:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Pharmacists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers or practitioners
  • Podiatrists endorsed for scheduled medicines
  • Paramedics
  • Allied health practitioners.

Not all quality statements within this clinical care standard will be applicable to every healthcare service or clinical unit. Healthcare services should consider their individual circumstances in determining how to apply the statement.

Implementation should consider the context in which care is provided, and local variation and the quality improvement priorities of the individual healthcare services. In rural and remote settings, different strategies may be needed to implement the standard, such as hub-and-spoke models integrating larger and smaller health services and using telehealth consultations.