Reducing Side Effects from Anesthesia - Genesis HealthCare System - Zanesville, Ohio

A Change for the Better

Different Medication Improves Patient Experience

For years, Genesis has used duramorph - a morphine injection - as anesthesia during operations, but during a recent initiative to look for ways for our patients to have a better experience, a Genesis nurse discovered duramorph may not be the right medication for all patients.

After speaking with other nurses on the orthopedic unit, the nurse learned that patients were having many unpleasant side effects from duramorph. The nurse knew there had to be something Genesis could do to make the patients feel better without the side effects.

Orthopedic patients who received duramorph during their surgery were interviewed following their operations. They were asked about their comfort levels, including pain control and any side effects they were experiencing.

After gathering data for a month, the nurse took the findings to Genesis anesthesiologists, so they were aware of the side effects. They agreed something needed to change, so the decision was made to switch to fentanyl, which has been known to have fewer side effects. After another month of interviewing patients, it was determined the decision was the right one. Patients were more comfortable with fewer side effects.

Changing to a different medication may seem like a small step, but the improvement in how our patients felt after surgery shows that small changes can make a big difference.