Introduction


Pain is useful, it provides a warning sign of illness or injury. However, once the warning sign is recognized, pain should be treated and managed. Inadequate pain management can have serious adverse effects including:

For most of us pain is a part of life from birth to death. In fact, humans are capable of experiencing pain from about twenty-four weeks gestation. In the U.S., about 34% of females and about 27% of males age 18 years and older, have experienced pain that lasted at least 6 months. About 32% of those suffering chronic pain report severe pain of ≥7 on a scale of 0-10.

Because pain is identified primarily by self-report, there are certain patients who are at higher risk than others of having their pain undertreated. At risk individuals include infants and children, those whose primary language and cultural background differ from their healthcare providers, some elderly patients, and individuals who are developmentally delayed, cognitively impaired, or are severely emotionally disturbed.

Pain is one of the most frequent reasons that cause Americans to seek medical treatment. Surprisingly, inadequate medical treatment of pain, is a serious problem in the United States and is associated with unnecessary suffering, increased healthcare costs, workplace absenteeism and decreased quality of life. Barriers to adequate pain management often include provider: ignorance, fear and bias involving the use of analgesic opiates.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has identified a number of clinical barriers to improved pain care. These barriers include:


Instant Feedback:
Inadequate pain management is an uncommon problem in the U.S.
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False

Nursing has a legal and ethical duty to prevent and/or manage pain. In order to fulfill these duties, nurses must:

Instant Feedback:
Pain assessment and management are legal duties owed to the patient.
True
False


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