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Healthcare must work collaboratively in order to fight opioid and chronic illness epidemics

Opioid-related Hospitalizations and Chronic Illness

Opioid-related hospital stays have risen steadily due to opioid abuse, dependence, addiction, and poisoning. Chronic diseases are also on the rise. 1 in 4 US adults lives with two or more chronic diseases. Since many chronic illnesses are treated with opioids, researchers set out to examine the association between the two.

The results, while maybe not surprising, were still staggering. 94% of patients with opioid-related hospitalizations had 2 or more chronic diseases.

Researchers studied patients 18 years and older from January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2015. They discovered the highest prevalence of opioid-related hospitalizations were among patients 35 – 54 years, followed by patients 18 – 34. The percentages of men and women were almost equal. The most prevalent chronic disease associated with opioid-related hospitalization was asthma, followed by obesity and liver disease.

With opioid addiction and chronic diseases on the rise and considered epidemics, one of the upsetting aspects is that they are treated separately by the healthcare system. Clinicians must develop strategies to prevent opioid abuse in patients with multiple chronic conditions.

 

Alternatives to help patients with chronic conditions

Unlike acute pain that will resolve within a limited amount of time, chronic pain needs more than an occasional visit to the doctor. The medical community is beginning to look outside drugs to help their patients get some relief.

Communication and Support

A pilot study recently looked at continuing care outside of office visits. As you know, if you follow the ARISE® Network, we’re huge believers in continuing care in order to set yourself up for success. This study looked at the impact of supportive text messages that offered guidance and encouragement. The results showed that the texts reduced the patients’ perception of their pain.

In another study, patients were divided into 2 groups; one group was put on a web-based self-management program with modules about coping with pain, communicating with providers, etc. and a second group was put on the same web-based self-management program with the addition of a weekly care management meeting with a nurse. They both proved to be successful, however, the 2nd group with a weekly care meeting yielded far better results than just self-management alone.

Shared Experience

Richard W. Rosenquist, chairman of the department of pain management at the Cleveland Clinic, believes patients with chronic pain benefit from attending organized programs run by a variety of medical specialists to keep up with treatment and self-care options. Part of chronic-pain healing is the shared experience.

ARISE® believes in comprehensive care for the whole family. When ARISE® receives a call from a person who is worried about a loved one, we bring everyone together. We know that together we are stronger. That’s why ARISE® is proven to be successful. If you or a loved one are looking for help, please give us a call. We will give you the tools you need to get healthy and stay healthy.

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