Pain management with opioids and underutilization of prophylaxis for constipation can prolong a patient’s hospital length of stay and impede pain management efforts.
In pediatric postoperative cardiac patients, opioid therapy is a common approach to pain management but often places them at greater risk for constipation due to anatomy and age.
A retrospective review of 50 patients’ medical records for baseline data was conducted, and a survey evaluated providers’ current knowledge and practice.
The intervention was an electronic order set that provided decision support. Additionally, prophylactic measures were supported by a validated assessment tool that created a common language to report constipation risk.
Although not statistically significant, postintervention data demonstrated a 21.5% decrease in postoperative constipation and a 57% increase in ordered bowel regimens.
More focus is needed toward prophylactic bowel regimens to reduce the risk in this already high-risk population.

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