CHICAGO, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In its Sentinel Event Alert, " Safe Use of Opioids in Hospitals", The Joint Commission recently expressed concern about the safe use of opioids in hospitals, "While opioid use is generally safe for most patients, opioid analgesics may be associated with adverse effects, the most serious effect being respiratory depression, which is generally preceded by sedation." According to the Food and Drug Administration, between 2005 and 2009, more than 56,000 adverse events and 700 patient deaths were linked to patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps. In fact, 1 out of 378 post-surgical patients are harmed or die from errors related to PCA pumps. To help prevent such errors in the future, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) just released a tool aimed toward enhancing PCA pump safety, based on data collected from clinical professionals. The PCA Safety Checklist is not only free download off of the PPAHS website ( http://www.ppahs.org), but it now can be "checked" as recommended steps are completed and healthcare facilities are encouraged to adapt it by, for example, adding their logos to the word document. The PPAHS checklist tool concentrates its efforts on the top three risks uncovered in the data: that a patient can potentially receive too much medication; that injury and death can occur even if there are no errors with the pump; and that oximetry monitoring may not be sufficient. The PCA Safety Checklist is available in pdf and as a "checkable" word document by clicking on links at the top right hand corner of http://www.ppahs.org For more on the 6 key tasks that should be performed any time a PCA pump is initiated, a pump is refilled or there's a change in pump programming, please visit http://www.ppahs.org About PPAHSThe Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS supporters include physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations.