The AAMI Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, hosted a free patient safety seminar focused on the continuous monitoring of patients receiving opioids in the general care setting. The online forum, titled Continuous Monitoring of Patients on Opioids: Initiatives at BJC Healthcare, took place on October 14, and was offered in partnership with the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Opioids can cause respiratory depression and are involved in almost half of all deaths attributed to medication errors. In hospitals, the inability to recognize and reverse opioid-induced respiratory depression leads to what is often referred to as “failure to rescue” events.

That failure to even recognize respiratory depression as it is happening prompted one expert to suggest a name change for this patient safety problem. “We don’t have a failure to rescue. We have a failure to recognize,” says Frank Overdyk, MSEE, MD, an anesthesiologist for Roper St. Francis Health System in South Carolina and co-chair of the AAMI Foundation’s National Coalition to Promote Continuous Monitoring of Patients on Opioids.

During the upcoming seminar, Paul Milligan, a medication safety pharmacist for BJC Healthcare in St. Louis, will discuss how his organization is making strides in addressing over-sedation and preventing “failure to rescue” events by providing continuous physiological monitoring of patients on parenteral opioids in the general care setting.

“Failure to rescue resulting from undetected opioid-induced respiratory depression are absolutely ‘never events,’ and there are methods hospitals can use to avoid these tragic patient outcomes,” says Marilyn Neder Flack, AAMI’s senior vice president of patient safety initiatives and executive director of the AAMI Foundation. “This free seminar promises to be a very interesting look at the challenges and benefits healthcare delivery organizations face when trying to implement continuous monitoring in the general care setting.”

Nurses, clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists, physicians, respiratory therapists, health care technology professionals (such as biomedical and clinical engineers), patient safety managers, and risk managers are encouraged to register and attend.