What The Joint Commission says about opioids and respiratory compromise

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

May 5, 2015

In February, representatives from pulmonary medicine and patient safety organizations gathered with respiratory medicine thought leaders in a roundtable discussion hosted by the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care. Their main objective: Identify ways to recognize respiratory compromise in all patient populations before it evolved into respiratory failure.

Although respiratory compromise can lead to an intensive care and mortality, it’s still a common occurrence among surgical patients. A 2013 Healthgrades, Inc. report evaluated Medicare hospitalizations from 2009 to 2011 and found that respiratory failure following surgery occurred at a rate of 13.79 per 1,000 cases. Respiratory compromise (consisting of insufficiency, distress, arrest, and failure) leads to higher mortality rates and higher rates of ICU admissions, which increases costs and leads to additional complications for patients.

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