Quality statement 4 - Pathways of care

A patient with acute pain prescribed an opioid analgesic who is at increased risk of opioid-related harm is appropriately managed in conjunction with a locally approved pathway to mitigate the potential for harm.

Purpose

To ensure that patients presenting with acute pain who are prescribed an opioid analgesic have access to a pathway of care to mitigate the risk of opioid-related harm, if required. This includes referral to appropriate support services, escalation of care to specialist services for paediatrics, pain management, drug and alcohol services, clinical pharmacy and allied health.

For consumers

If your clinician has identified you as having an increased risk of harm from opioid analgesics, your clinician may refer you to other hospital-based support services. These may include specialist services for children and adolescents, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health to help manage your acute pain and the risk of possible harm.

For clinicians

Manage and refer patients identified at increased risk of opioid-related harm according to a defined clinical pathway for appropriate support services. This includes escalation of care to specialist services for paediatrics, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health.

Inform the patient why they are being referred. Provide information about the care to which they are being referred according to the pathway. Advise the patient of your role in the patient’s continuing care.

For health service organisations

Ensure there is a locally approved policy that defines the clinical pathways for hospitalised patients who are identified to be at increased risk of opioid-related harm. The pathways should enable clinicians to refer and escalate care of patients at increased risk of opioid-related harm to access support services, including specialist services for paediatrics, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health.

Ensure systems are in place to inform patients why they are being referred to a pathway and the plan for their ongoing clinical management.

Ensure clinicians are trained on how to access the pathways and that workforce proficiency is maintained.

For consumers

If your clinician has identified you as having an increased risk of harm from opioid analgesics, your clinician may refer you to other hospital-based support services. These may include specialist services for children and adolescents, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health to help manage your acute pain and the risk of possible harm.

For clinicians

Manage and refer patients identified at increased risk of opioid-related harm according to a defined clinical pathway for appropriate support services. This includes escalation of care to specialist services for paediatrics, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health.

Inform the patient why they are being referred. Provide information about the care to which they are being referred according to the pathway. Advise the patient of your role in the patient’s continuing care.

For health service organisations

Ensure there is a locally approved policy that defines the clinical pathways for hospitalised patients who are identified to be at increased risk of opioid-related harm. The pathways should enable clinicians to refer and escalate care of patients at increased risk of opioid-related harm to access support services, including specialist services for paediatrics, pain management, drug and alcohol, clinical pharmacy and allied health.

Ensure systems are in place to inform patients why they are being referred to a pathway and the plan for their ongoing clinical management.

Ensure clinicians are trained on how to access the pathways and that workforce proficiency is maintained.