Mitigating the Opioid Crisis for Wound Care Providers Using Opioid Stewardship

Robert George Smith, DPM, MSc, RPh


Wounds. 2020;32(6):146-151. 

In This Article

H: Help

"H" stands for help. The wound care specialist should seek a pain specialist when required. Pain management specialists can empower a patient's ability to function and improve their quality of life.[6,7] Patients who have substance use disorders with medically legitimate pain sufficient to justify the administering of opioids must be closely monitored.[6] Wound care clinicians can play an integral role in patient selection and referral for focused chronic pain management and provide ongoing collaborative care to include monitoring for efficacy and adverse events and facilitating communication with the treating specialist. Becker et al[29] reported the most important reasons to refer a patient to a specialist include: (1) misuse of medication, such as early and consistent refill requests or positive drugs screens; (2) excessive alcohol consumption; (3) no desire to try other pain treatments or medication options; (4) concurrent prescriptions for opioids and sedatives; (5) mental health symptoms; and (6) opioid use disorder being treated with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone upon experiencing persistent, impairing pain.