3 Ways SMI Cold Therapy Enhances Non-Pharma Pain Control

May 15, 2022 | Abdominal, By Category, Face, Foot & Ankle, Gel Bags, General Surgery, Major Joint, MIscellaneous, Ortho, Plastic Surgery, Small Joint, Spine, Sports Med, Trauma, Wraps | 0 comments

Doctors performing a procedure on a patient

3 Ways SMI Cold Therapy Enhances Non-Pharma Pain Control

With the increased awareness of opioid abuse, healthcare professionals and clinicians are constantly challenged to find alternatives to pharmaceutical pain relief for post-operative Orthopedic surgery. In addition to modalities like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, post-op cold therapy may also be an avenue worth exploring for many healthcare facilities looking to improve their ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) protocols. Check out Becker’s Spine Review “An Effective Enhancement to Your Multimodal Pain Management Program” where we are mentioned!

Let’s look at what you might be using on your unit, then compare it to other products in the cold therapy game. Then, we’ll explore how SMI Cold Therapy can enhance non-pharma pain control.

What Cold Therapy Are You Using on Your Unit?

Cold therapy doesn’t seem like it should be complicated; however, clinicians often are burdened with multiple modalities of ice therapy that leave them with more questions than answers. The R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method is the gold standard for post-injury care, but there’s often the question of best practices for Orthopedic Nursing. Looking at the current spectrum of cold therapy in Orthopedics, healthcare and supply chain professionals are often exploring at two options: ice bags or continuous cold therapy machines.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ll find healthcare professionals using ice bags or reusable ice packs. Many clinicians follow the Physical Therapy teachings of 20-30 minutes “on” up to three times per day using ice bags or reusable ice packs, or “intermittent” ice therapy. This method is certainly suitable for minor strains and sprains, but articulated, traumatic Orthopedic surgeries – such as Total Joint Replacement – may require more constant and consistent use of ice therapy for post-op pain and swelling.

Although inarguably cost-effective, that same cannot be said about ice bags’ perception of value-based care. Ice bags regularly present issues with leaks on the surgical site, increasing infection control concerns. Ice bags also require additional compression, resulting in unnecessary added costs for the healthcare facility.

On the other end, clinicians may opt for the motorized or gravity-fed cold therapy machines. Using water, ice, and a combination of water connection tubes and power cords, the ice machines work exceedingly well at cooling the joint for hours. Continuous cold therapy is proven to be safe in the first 24-48 hours after Joint Replacement (1), which makes the cooling units attractive at first glance. However, clinicians and patients may also find them to be cumbersome, difficult to operate, and expensive. In the home environment, the coolers – namely its connection tubes and power cords – present a serious fall risk for patients and inhibit the ability to freely ambulate.

3 Ways SMI Can Help Simplify Your Cold Therapy Process

1.    Clinically Proven Protocol

Take the guess work out of cold therapy. SMI Cold Therapy provides the only cold compression wrap that’s been clinically proven to perform as well as the motorized cooling units. Our simple, effective process provides the same continuous cold therapy clinicians expect from the cooling units without the need for pounds of ice, water hoses or access to an electrical outlet. Designed to safely cool the joint for four (4) hours, SMI Cold Therapy ice wraps combines cold and compression to reduce post-op pain and swelling while promoting full ambulation and range of motion. SMI’s JCAHO / DNV approved infection control protocols mitigate the risk of cross contamination.

2.    Simplify and Streamline Nurse Workflow

Nurse productivity and workflow is key, especially with the staffing challenges in today’s healthcare environment. Leaking ice bags are notorious for interrupting the overall staff workflow, requiring near constant intervention and clean up. Ice bucket reservoir refills and water leaks from the connection tubes of the ice machines also create a hassle for patients and nursing staff. Designed to safely cool the joint and rotated every four (4) hours, SMI Cold Therapy ice packs can be easily synced up with inpatient vitals and medication, keeping the patient engaged in their recovery and simplifying daily Orthopedic nursing protocols.

3.    Keep Costs in Check

No amount of cold therapy is covered by insurance, leaving healthcare professionals between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The ice machines are a known budget-buster – costing anywhere between $90-300+ per patient. Ice bags are cheap, but have many hidden “soft costs” including patient linen and bandage changes, nursing time wasted, and multiple ice bags being used. SMI ice wraps work just as well as the cooling units at a 60% cost savings. One hospital saw a cost savings of $9,738 per 100 TKA! The SMI Freezer Program also provides and replaces all freezers (including inpatient room freezers) at no charge to the healthcare facility.

Improving Cold Therapy Processes for Post-Operative Orthopedic Care

SMI Cold Therapy saw these challenges that healthcare professionals faced and grew determined to produce a solution: a cost-effective wrap and gel bag product that clinically performs as well as the continuous cold therapy machines. With a published clinical trial to back it up (2), SMI Cold Therapy cold compression wraps have earned the trust of over 500 hospitals and surgery centers nationwide to serve their patients and nursing teams.

While Orthopedic surgeons can get caught up in the newest, most high-tech equipment for their patients, sometimes high tech isn’t the best tech. The motorized cooling machines have been the gold standard for almost 30 years in post-op Orthopedic care with ice bags prevailing before that. SMI Cold Therapy gives your Orthopedic nursing teams and patients the best of both worlds: the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of ice bags with the clinically efficacious cold therapy of the ice machines.

Get Your Patients Untethered to an Outlet and Out of Pain!

Do you want to share the Becker’s Spine Review or this article with your unit director?

Matthew Walters

About Matthew Walters

Sales Team Leader, Territory Manager, avid weightlifter. Changing the practice of cold therapy in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. Passionate about helping people, improving processes, and creating positive change. Will trade frozen cold wrap sample for a decent “local favorite” restaurant or brewery recommendation.

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