Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guest Post: Clinical Process in Pain Management

Clinical Process in Pain Management
It’s definitely not easy when you know you have a terminal disease like cancer. What’s worse is the fact that you know you’re going to suffer a painful death, one that will not come quickly but is drawn out and excruciating. Pain management is thus a very important part of palliative care, the kind that is provided to people who have been given just a few months to live at best, people who have lost all hope and for whom chemo and other treatment options are no longer effective. Even those patients who see a sliver of hope in the form of radiation and chemotherapy are in pain, because for this dreaded disease, even the treatment is a form of unbearable pain.
The clinical process in pain management includes the following steps:
• Assessing the pain and documenting its aspects – like how bearable it is and where it originates, if it is radiating or localized, if it is continuous or sporadic, and so on.
• Recognizing the triggers of pain – identifying the factors that cause the pain to flare up or intensify is important because it helps minimize trauma.
• Finding the cause of the pain – the triggers for the pain may be different from the cause. The cause may be a broken bone, but the trigger may be someone touching the injured area or moving it. It is imperative that the cause is identified and treated if the pain must be stopped for good.
• Assessing the risk in the situation – some treatment methods fail to take into account the risks involved. It’s important to assess all the risks, especially when treating people with prior medical conditions.
• Devising a care plan to manage the symptoms of pain – this is especially important when you’re looking after terminally ill patients who need long term pain management plans if they are to live out their last days in relative comfort.
• Treating the cause of the pain – the cause of the pain must be treated if possible, like in the case of broken bones or torn ligaments.
• Considering alternative action when the patient is unresponsive to one method of management – people respond differently to different drugs, so each person’s care plan has to be formulated with precision.
• Dealing with adverse drug reactions – some patients may be allergic to certain drugs, so you must ask the right questions before you begin treatment or pain management therapy.
• Continuously monitoring the situation to see if there has been any improvement – the patient has to be watched for signs, both of improvement and relapse. It’s important that non-verbal cues like grimaces and frowns be taken into consideration as well when caring for patients who are very ill.
Pain management is important in not just cancer but also in post-surgery situations and in acute care conditions. And when the clinical process is efficient, it makes it that much more bearable for the patient.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com