Monitoring Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression

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My professional reaction to this article was one of concern. As an ICU nurse, I often see patients transferred to my unit from less acute units as a result of opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD). In response to this adverse event, providers discontinue opioid analgesics, pain management becomes difficult, and patient satisfaction decreases. Additionally, the patient length of stay increases and the hospital suffers financial consequences. Nurses caring for patients receiving opioid analgesics must follow recommended monitoring practices to prevent OIRD and improve patient safety.
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