Dealing with opioid management is a complex game – much trickier than any 3D puzzle or ultra-strategic board game! But it’s a reality for healthcare professionals, who are trying to navigate this task along with growing patient loads.

Feeling overwhelmed? We’re here to help. This guide is loaded with effective tools and tips to enable you to power up your confidence in opioid management.

Meet Your New Best Friend: The Opioid Risk Tool (ORT)

Our first tool on the list is the clever Opioid Risk Tool (ORT). Ideal for adult patients in primary care, this tool works to spot the risk for opioid abuse among individuals prescribed opioids for chronic pain treatment. If they score high, they’re more likely to show future abusive drug-related behaviour. It’s a lightning-quick test, clocking in at less than a minute to administer and score.

Implement the ORT during the initial visit before starting opioid therapy for pain management. Low risk is indicated by a score of 3 or less, while a score of 4 to 7 indicates moderate risk. If the score jumps to 8 or more, that’s a red flag for high risk of opioid abuse.

Mastering Opioid Dosage Precision with the Opioid Calculator

When it comes to calculating the total opioid dosage, the Opioid Calculator is what you need. This tool is tailor-made for general practitioners, other specialists, medical students, and nurses dealing with persistent pain in patients. Developed by the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), it simplifies the process of equianalgesia calculation into an oral morphine equivalent daily dose (oMEDD).

This handy tool isn’t just desktop-bound, it is also available on your smartphone, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Benefits include;

  • Delivering uniformity in evidence-based prescribing, so you’re always on track
  • Conversation limits to keep your discussions focused
  • Instant access to key information, so you’re never left scrambling
  • A colour-coded opioid dose warning system to guide your decisions clearly
  • A built-in safety net promoting clinical caution, useful for both vet and rookie prescribers
  • Dependable and uniform results to assure your clinical decisions
  • User-friendly, making it the perfect new addition to your professional toolkit
  • A personal tutor on hand, educating both prescribers and patients on the principles of safe opioid dosing.

Deepen Your Understanding with the Routine Opioid Outcomes Monitoring (ROOM) Tool

For a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of opioid use, the ROOM Tool is an invaluable asset. Developed by Monash University, this in-depth questionnaire delves past initial impressions, identifying any underlying risks associated with opioid misuse that could be potentially overlooked. It functions as a crucial interpreter, translating complex patterns of patients’ opioid usage into manageable and comprehensible information.

Take your opioid management skills to the next level

The landscape of prescription opioids is changing rapidly, with usage rising despite growing potential risks and challenges. We would therefore like to invite you to further enhance your skills and understanding – it’s crucial that we, as healthcare providers, stay ahead of the curve to best serve our patients.

In partnership with REACHFORTHEFACTS, GPEx’s ‘Opioids and Your Patient’ course aims to arm you with the deep knowledge and useful tools necessary to maximise patient benefits and minimise potential harms associated with prescription opioids. Given that more than 1.98 million Australian adults start prescription opioids each year, and more than 3.1 million are given an opioid annually, it’s vital we understand the intricacies and potential impacts of these prescriptions.

Opioids and Your Patient’ gives GPs and other prescribers the chance to consolidate their skills and appreciate both the therapeutic role and potential harm of prescription opioids.

By participating in this course, you will:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the risks associated with long-term use and misuse of prescription opioids in adults.
  • Become proficient at using decision-making tools to determine when and how to prescribe and de-prescribe these drugs.
  • Develop keen insight to recognise ‘red flags’ for dependence and diversion in adults, ensuring your patient’s safety.
  • Boost your confidence in handling tough conversations about the risks associated with opioids, and educate patients when it’s necessary not to prescribe or to de-prescribe.

Seize the opportunity now and enrich your clinical practice with this comprehensive understanding of opioids. Remember, informed healthcare professionals make for a healthier world, so join us today, and let’s make a difference together. Click here to enrol in ‘Opioids and Your Patient.’