After speculation that opioid addiction for chronic pain was the cause of musician Prince’s death, a new study reveals that opioids do increase the likelihood of death in those that are given this pain management medication on a long term basis. According to this study, opioids increased the death by both accidental overdose and by complications in other health areas, such as through cardiorespiratory illness. When compared with alternative methods of dealing with pain, opioids have a far higher mortality rate.
This is not news to most people, as the issues associated with opioid prescription has been well documented in several other places. However, as the issue gains more and more publicity, the public is becoming increasingly wary of it. Doctors are often under pressure to prescribe opioids to elderly patients simply because they are very effective in what they do. The issue comes when opioids are used for too long or abused, and this is often not under the original doctor’s control.
Having a loved one that suffers from chronic pain or is permanently disabled is an extremely difficult thing for you and your family to go through. There are other methods of treating pain than opioids, and although opioids are extremely effective at what they do, the severity of the side effects when they are used for extended periods of time does tend to outweigh the benefits that are seen. The problem with this is that the medication is extremely addictive, and getting a patient off of this can be a challenge all in itself. If you have concerns or questions about someone using opioids, be sure to talk to their doctor, assuming that you have a legal right to do so. Many healthcare proxies don’t think to question these types of decisions, but if you have concerns, then it is a must that you talk with both your mom or dad, and their doctor. If alternative methods of treating the pain are out there, you may want to see if they can be taken. As always, your doctor is the professional here, and their advice should be followed. Asking questions will help you to know what to do, too.
It’s also important that you let your parent’s in-home care specialist know what concerns exist with opioids and any medication that they might be taking. Ensuring that they have emergency training just in case is also a big weight off of your shoulders. This is why it’s so important that you go through a professional in-home care service so that the likelihood of having a fully trained and insured caregiver is better. Always check into these things before you hire someone to help with the care of your family. As a general rule, although independent caregivers are well intentioned, they do not have the same background and safety measures in place that a service provides for their employees. When someone that you love is on potentially dangerous medications, you want to have every safety measure that you can get on your side. When the only choice is to go with an opioid, be sure that everyone involved in their care knows what to do with the meds and how to handle a problem if this ever were to occur.