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MMH Institutes Pain Management Program

March 14, 2019

With the advent of the opioid crisis in America, doctors are seeking alternative methods to combat pain in patients who may not necessarily need pain management medication. At Massena Memorial Hospital, a new “Comfort Cart” will soon be introduced, offering alternatives for patients to help occupy them in recovery following procedures.

The Comfort Cart items will range from color books for children and adults alike, lip balm, nail files, ear buds, ear plugs, eye masks to assist with sleep and small stuffed animals. The idea of this “Comfort Cart” was the doing of Ashli Buddenhagen Pharm D, BCPS and is being carried out by Deborah Cameron, RN, Director of Medical/Surgical/ICU.

A large aspect of this new program being introduced is the proper assessment and treatment of pain. “Optimal patient care in my home town is the vision behind everything I do at MMH. The Pain Quality Council was developed to bring multiple disciplines together to ensure proper pain management for our patients. The goal is to use non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies to optimize patient outcomes.”, said Mrs. Buddenhagen.

She went on to explain, “The new pain management program will place more focufocus on patient involvement, education and individualized pain treatment. By using this multi-modal approach we can improve patient satisfaction, reduce dose-related adverse events of medications and enhance patient healing.”

The Hospitalist physicians are a part of the new program, with rounding meetings being carried out weekly. One of the focuses of the program is ongoing patient education as well as the development of patient care plans. All of these various steps are being taken to ensure the highest quality care is being carried out for every patient, all while individualizing their care on a case by case basis.

As explained by Ralene North, RN, BSN, Chief Nurse Executive, “The opioid epidemic is a national crisis that has affected our community here in Massena and our surrounding service areas. My team and I take our responsibility toward the epidemic seriously and have been working tirelessly to educate our staff, providers and our patients on alternatives to opioid prescribing for pain control." A Board certified Clinical Pharmacist, Mrs. Buddenhagen attended Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, graduating cum laude in 2015 with a doctorate. She is a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist and has an antimicrobial stewardship certificate from the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists and a pain management certificate from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Deb Cameron, RN, Director of Medical/Surgical/ICU, and Sue Smith, RN, Infection Control Nurse, display the new items on the MMH Patient Comfort Cart.