Help Patients Get Comfortable After Injury or Surgery
Things you can do to help your patients implement their pain management plan and increase their comfort after injury or surgery
Remind patients that pain is part of the normal healing process after surgery. Pain is the worst the first few days after surgery, but it will improve day-by-day.
Encourage patients to monitor their pain levels, and to check with you about unexpected pain to rule out a rare problem.
Remind patients to take as little opioid medication as possible and reiterate why this is important to reduce the risk of misuse.1
Share strategies with your patients that will help them get comfortable:
Add oral acetaminophen – either 2 extra strength every 6 hours or 2 regular strength every 4 hours for 2 days, not taking more than 4000 milligrams a day.
Add ibuprofen 600 or 800 mg every 6 hours for 2 days
Stagger acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 3 hours
Elevate the surgical area
Apply ice 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off
As nerve block is wearing off take the stronger pain reliever every 3 hours for the next 3 doses.
Share this pain relief video with your patients to help them prepare for postoperative pain.
Discuss how the patient’s family and friends can help with physical activities that are difficult for the patient after surgery and provide emotional support during recovery.
Encourage patients to establish a social network—including family members and friends, visiting nurses, home health aides, and neighborhood volunteers—to provide emotional and physical support during recovery.2
Agency Medical Directors’ Group. Interagency Guideline on Prescribing Opioids for Pain. http://www.agencymeddirectors.wa.gov/Files/2015AMDGOpioidGuideline.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2018.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Information statement: Opioid use, misuse, and abuse in orthopaedic practice. https://www.aaos.org/uploadedFiles/PreProduction/About/Opinion_Statements/advistmt/1045%20Opioid%20Use,%20Misuse,%20and%20Abuse%20in%20Practice.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2018.