Tips for Talking about Opioids and Pain with Patients

Health care providers often request guidance on how to have conversations with patients about opioids, pain treatment, addiction and other topics that may be challenging. In this collection, we have gathered materials that provide support to providers as they have these difficult conversations.

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Payers & Providers

Opioid Taper Decision Tool

Source: Veterans Administration Pharmacy Benefits Management Academic Detailing

A toolkit prepared by the Veterans Health Administration to help primary care providers manage opioid tapering in their practices. It includes steps to take before beginning a taper including assessing the patient for conditions that might complicate the tapering process and communicating directly with the patient about opioid safety and tapering options.

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Payers & Providers

Tapering Toolkit Provider Resources

Source: Partnership HealthPlan of California

This 2016 toolkit from Partnership Health Plan of California provides guidance for providers seeking to engage their patients in a step-wise, physician directed tapering of their opioid dose. The toolkit has 4 sections: how to identify candidates for tapering, how to collaboratively set a tapering plan with the patient, how to manage the tapering process and complications, and advice on planning for special situations

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Payers & Providers

The Art and (Very Little) Science of Tapering

Source: Partnership Health Plan of California

This 2015 video from Dr. Andrea Rubinstein provides guidance to providers on how to work with patients to taper their opioid medication dosage. Includes a discussion on indications for tapering, 10 best practices for

Video
Payers & Providers

Nebraska Pain Management Guidance Document: A Provider and Community Resource

Source: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

The 2017 Nebraska Pain Management Guidance document was developed by an expert advisory task force consisting of actively practicing clinicians and prescribers, public health officers and senior state officials. The guidance is notable for addressing a broad range of topics including

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Payers & Providers
Patients & Caregivers

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act: Protecting Individuals with Chronic Pain

Source: Arizona Governor's Office

In 2018 the Arizona Legislature passed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. This one page information sheet for patients explains how the legislation protects chronic pain patients who use opioids to treat their pain. The document clarifies that the act does not limit prescription fills for chronic

Document
Payers & Providers

Pain Treatment Guidelines

This website includes all of the pain treatment guidelines prepared by the Oregon Pain Guidance commission including guidelines on acute pain, chronic pain, low back pain, alternatives to pharmacological treatment of pain, treating pain in children and senior citizens, pain control for cancer and palliative care, opioid

External Website
Payers & Providers

Flip the Script: Difficult Conversations

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services

This 4 page guide from Minnesota’s Flip the Script campaign centers on health care providers and conducting difficult conversations with patients around opioids. The guide covers topics such as tapering opioid dose, pain relief, emerging behavioral health conditions, and concerns about the addiction risk of using opioids and includes sample language providers can use when talking to patients.

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Payers & Providers
Patients & Caregivers

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act – Protecting Individuals with Chronic Pain (Spanish)

Source: Arizona Governor's Office of Youth, Faith, and Family

In 2018, the Arizona Legislature passed the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. This one page information sheet for patients in Spanish explains how the legislation protects chronic pain patients who use opioids to treat their pain. The document clarifies that the act does not limit prescription fills

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