Patient Education

Implementing upstream approaches to prevent substance use disorder is a cornerstone of NCHA’s recommended opioid response strategy. If an opioid is prescribed to a patient in the ED, the provider should educate the patient on safe usage, overdose signs and symptoms, safe storage, and disposal when the opioid is no longer needed.  

Key Takeaways for the ED 

  1. Because patients interact with educational materials in different ways, it is preferable to have both printed and electronic versions available. 
  2. Coordinate with pharmacy to develop and implement patient education on safe opioid use and naloxone. 
  3. Before creating patient resources specific to your hospital and/or health system, consider existing patient materials such as the resources developed by NCHA in collaboration with partners such as UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest and The North Carolina Medical Board  
  4. Education during the crisis episode can be overwhelming make patient education easily available through web-based patient portals. All opioid educational materials developed in collaboration between NCHA and UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest are formatted to be embedded in patient portals and EMRs.  
  5. Patients should be connected back with their primary care provider if they have questions about their opioid prescription, and EPs should coordinate with the primary provider in these instances.  

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