The National Quality Forum on Thursday released a comprehensive guide to support safe and appropriate opioid prescribing practices and help manage patients’ pain. 

The “National Quality Partners Playbook™: Opioid Stewardship” provides strategies for skilled nursing providers as part of a series of solutions to address the epidemic across healthcare organizations and practice settings.

“Older Americans, especially residents in long-term care settings, are among the most vulnerable individuals dealing with pain,” Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., MPhil, president and CEO for the National Quality Forum, told McKnight’s. “The ‘National Quality Partners Playbook™: Opioid Stewardship’ offers a path for long-term care providers and all healthcare organizations and clinicians to better assess, diagnose, and treat pain using safe and appropriate patient-centered strategies that may or may not include medications.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 46 Americans die each day from a prescription opioid-related overdose. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration projects the population of older adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020, from 1.2% to 2.4%. Federal lawmakers are also looking to limit the length of new opioid prescriptions for Medicare recipients.

NQF’s National Quality Partners joined with more than 40 public- and private-sector healthcare stakeholders and clinical experts to develop the guidebook.

“It is a critically important resource for our nation’s frontline clinicians to use as they consider pain management strategies with patients,” Agrawal said.

The Playbook includes situational examples and tactics, identifies barriers and solutions, and connects clinicians to resources that can work regardless of care setting.

A summary of the guide is available now, with the full version available for download on March 12. NQF will also host a public webinar on opioid stewardship on March 29, followed by a one-day workshop for clinicians and healthcare quality leaders.