Implementing Monitoring for Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression in Medical-Surgical and Other General Care Units

November 22, 2016 | Evaluations & Guidance


Patients receiving parenteral and neuraxial opioids are at risk of depressed respiration—a condition that can quickly lead to anoxic brain injury or death if not detected. As a result, several organizations now recommend that these patients be continuously monitored for respiratory depression.

This recommendation presents some significant challenges for healthcare providers. Questions to be addressed include:

  1. Which monitoring technology should be used?

  2. How does a facility budget for acquiring and operating monitors?

  3. How many...

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