Sentinel Event Alert: Safe Use of Opioid Analgesia

August 15, 2012 | Risk Management News


Because opioid analgesics rank among the drugs most frequently associated with adverse drug events, the safe use of opioids in hospital settings relies on conducting an accurate pain assessment and then applying appropriate pain management techniques, states an August 8, 2012, Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert. Of the opioid-related adverse drug events, including deaths, that occurred in hospitals and were reported to The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event database from 2004 to 2011, 47% were wrong-dose medication errors, 29% were related to improper monitoring of the patient, and 11% were related to other factors, such as excessive dosing, medication interactions, and adverse drug reactions.

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