Sparta Community Hospital is a member of the Midwest Alternative to Opioids (ALTO) Project to reduce the administration of opioids in the emergency department (ED). Sparta Community Hospital’s goal is to improve pain management for its patients and return them to a maximum quality of life while also recognizing and controlling the inherent risks of prescribing highly addictive medications like opioids. The hospital’s clinicians are dedicated to understanding and responding appropriately to their patients’ physical and emotional symptoms of pain as well as taking steps to help the community combat the ongoing opioid epidemic.

This project implements components from the Illinois ACEP 2018-19 Opioid Prescribing & Treatment Guidelines in Sparta Community Hospital’s Emergency Department. These guidelines include using ALTOs as a first line of defense in treating patients with painful conditions before resorting to opioids.

Dr. John Vandover, SCH Emergency Department Director

“It is always our goal to provide the best comprehensive care to patients seen in the Emergency Department.” States Dr. John Vandover, SCH Emergency Department Director.  “Effective pain management considers all aspects of patient care.  As we join other Emergency Departments in careful use of medications with high potential for abuse and addiction we hope to provide a better quality of care through a global approach to long term patient wellness.”

Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin hospitals, particularly the EDs, are in a strong position to integrate new and more effective pain management treatments that are tailored to each patient’s unique pain experience. Engagement in the Midwest ALTO Project provides a unique opportunity to impact the opioid crisis in a regional fashion.

In January 2018, the Colorado Hospital Association announced the results of the Colorado Opioid Safety Pilot initiated in 10 EDs across the state in 2017. During the six-month pilot, which the Midwest ALTO Project is modeled after, the participating facilities reduced the administration of opioids by an average of 36 percent and increased the usage of ALTOs by 31 percent. Sparta Community Hospital is very pleased to have joined this effort to reduce the opioid epidemic in their rural area.