Discharge from the trauma centre: exposure to opioids, unmet information needs and lack of follow up—a qualitative study among physical trauma survivors
Researchers at OUS and SERAF have recently published an article on opioid treatment and follow-up after hospital discharge for patients following a serious accident and surgery at Norway's largest trauma center.
Illustration photo: Colourbox
The study was based on qualitative research including interviews with 13 patients who had surgery following a traumatic injury. The interviews were conducted 6 weeks after discharge from the emergency room. All patients had suffered serious injuries with a consequent need for acute pain treatment with opioids during and after their hospital stay.
After discharge, the study participants described an experience of uncertainty. There were three themes that figured prominently in their explanations of uncertainty after discharge: 1) too little information about the extent of the injury and expected further course; 2) too little information about the opioid treatment that the patients continued with after discharge, including lack of concrete plans for phasing out the opioid treatment; and finally 3) too little follow-up from the trauma hospital after discharge.
The study findings indicate that in addition to first-class acute and subacute surgical treatment emergency departments must also focus on patients' psychosocial experience and function as well as facilitate better routines for reducing patient use of opioids after discharge.