Children undergoing heart surgery need strong sedation and pain medications. Weaning them off these medications is complicated; many have withdrawal symptoms that require additional medications. Unfortunately, says Patricia Lincoln, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS-BC, “the medications we use to manage withdrawal may keep patients in the hospital longer.”
Last spring, Lincoln and her nursing colleagues in the Boston Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) launched an initiative called Cardiac RESTORE to help wean patients from pain and sedation medications according to a carefully designed algorithm.
“Cardiac RESTORE helps us continually assess what patients need and regulate their physiologic response to changes,” says Lincoln. “Medication doses are constantly being titrated or weaned unless the patient has an acute deterioration.”
Early results show decreased usage of pain and sedation medications with no ill effects. …