Enhanced Recovery Protocol Helps in Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Hospitals, including those in Memorial Health System, continue to assess the ways patients who undergo surgery are treated for pain. Enhanced recovery protocols are designed to help surgery patients spend less time in the hospital, experience fewer complications and allow patients to avoid narcotic or opioid pain medication.

“This reduction in opioid use has been one of the most encouraging results from using enhanced recovery protocols in post-surgical patients.”

Highlights of enhanced recovery include:

  • Medical staff explain procedures in detail so patients know what to expect before, during and after surgery.
  • Most patients are now allowed to eat solid foods up to eight hours before surgery and sip clear liquids up to two hours before surgery.
  • Most patients are now allowed to drink water about 30 minutes after surgery. Well-hydrated patients report lower instances of nausea from anesthesia or pain medication.
  • Doctors try a regular schedule of non-narcotic pain relief measures, like Tylenol and regional anesthesia, before turning to opioids.

A fleet of non-opioid painkillers can be just as effective, while avoiding potentially life-altering side effects like addiction.