It is estimated that in the United States more than 76 million people suffer from pain. Pain can be chronic or acute, such as post-surgical pain.
Pain management standards
On January 1, 2001, pain management standards went into effect for Joint Commission accredited ambulatory care facilities, behavioral health care organizations, critical access hospitals, home care providers, hospitals, office-based surgery practices, and long term care providers. The pain management standards address the assessment and management of pain. The standards require organizations to:
- recognize the right of patients to appropriate assessment and management of pain
- screen patients for pain during their initial assessment and, when clinically required, during ongoing, periodic re-assessments
- educate patients suffering from pain and their families about pain management
The pain management standards require that patients be asked about pain, depending on the service the organization is providing. There are some services that do not require a pain assessment; for example, if a patient is being X-rayed. However, if a patient is experiencing pain, appropriate care should be made available. The organization’s response to a patient’s pain is based on the services it provides. If screening indicates that pain exists, the organization may assess and treat the pain; assess the pain and refer the patient for treatment; or refer the patient for further assessment. Patients are encouraged to report pain and to cooperate with the prescribed treatment.