Local CRNAs at forefront of opioid-free movement
SPRUCE PINE – With opioid addiction becoming an epidemic, three employees at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine are doing their part to try and stymie the crisis.
Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Jason McLott, T.J. Bristle and Lance Silver have implemented the use of opioid-free anesthesia, which is a safer option for anesthesia administration that maximizes a patient’s respiratory ability and aggressively treats their pain while eliminating the side effects of opioids.
The local effort is in conjunction with Mission Health’s system-wide opioid-free techniques.
McLott spearheaded the practice of administering opioid-free anesthesia after reading about its successes online.
“Opioid-free anesthesia is not as widely used in hospitals as it should be because it’s difficult to change the culture of how things are done,” McLott said. “Working at smaller hospitals like Blue Ridge Regional is beneficial because the cultures are more open to the idea of change.”
After surgery, changes in the body’s nervous system sensitize and magnify the pain the patient feels. By understanding this, the CRNAs at Blue Ridge Regional can treat post-operative pain like a disease and give medications that protect the patient from this phenomenon and increase comfort, healing and function after surgery while reducing the risk of opioid-related side effects and addiction.
“We encourage our patients not to use opioids as the first line of treatment but rather try ibuprofen and Tylenol where appropriate,” Bristle said. “Especially when a nerve block has been given.”