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Integration of Life Care Specialists Into Orthopaedic Trauma Care to Improve Postoperative Outcomes: A Pilot Study

Published:April 24, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmn.2022.03.010

      Abstract

      Background

      Aim

      This pilot study assessed the feasibility and impact of integrating a Life Care Specialist (LCS) into orthopaedic trauma care.

      Design

      This was a prospective feasibility single group pilot study at a level 1 trauma center.

      Method

      The LCS is a paraprofessional behavior-based “pain coach” and delivered patient-centered opioid safety education, trained participants on nonpharmacologic pain management approaches, conducted opioid risk assessments, and coordinated care. Numeric Rating Scale pain scores were assessed on admission, at discharge, and at 2-week follow-up. Daily morphine milligram equivalents (MME) during hospitalization, opioid medication use at 2-weeks, and patient satisfaction were recorded. T test compared mean morphine milligram equivalents (MME) to historical orthopaedic trauma patient population's mean dosage at discharge from the study site. Generalized linear models assessed pain scores over time.

      Results

      Twenty-two percent of 121 total participants met criteria for moderate to severe risk of opioid misuse at initial hospitalization. On average, 2.8 LCS pain management interventions were utilized, most frequently progressive muscle relaxation (80%) and sound therapy (48%). Mean inpatient MME/day was 40.5, which was significantly lower than mean historical MME/day of 49.7 (p < .001). Pain scores improved over time from admission to 2-weeks postoperatively (p < .001). Nearly all participants agreed that the LCS was helpful in managing pain (99%).

      Conclusions

      The findings indicate feasibility to integrate LCS into orthopaedic trauma care, evident by participant engagement and satisfaction, and that LCS serve as valuable resources to assist with pain management and opioid education.

      Keywords

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