Half of all American households have a family member suffering from chronic pain.
A national survey of 1,000 chronic pain sufferers commissioned by Purdue Pharma, LP revealed that half of all American households have a family member suff ering from chronic pain resulting from a specific illness. The survey also found that one-third of all chronic pain sufferers classifi ed their pain as debilitating and reported that often times their pain was so excruciating that they felt as if they would like to die.
In response to such statistics, Purdue Pharma in 1993 created Partners Against Pain (PAP), an international alliance “that serves patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to help alleviate unnecessary suffering by advancing standards of pain care through education and advocacy.” Their website is dedicated to easing both cancer and non-cancer pain by offering doctors and patients the tools and resources they need for pain management, assessment, and 24- hour support.
“Educational efforts such as Partners Against Pain, which inform patients and physicians about the latest developments in pain management, coupled with the new JCAHO standards, form the cornerstone of providing all patients with the very best pain care available, regardless of where they are being treated,” said Neil Irick, MD, a noted pain specialist.
The Pain Management Kit on the Partners Against Pain website hosts a “diverse selection of forms and other assessment tools that can be used to record pain intensity and duration, patient consent and treatment, clinical follow-up, and patient response to pain treatment.” The forms and scales are available in PDF format and are intended for print, duplication, and distribution to patients in the clinical setting. PAP hopes healthcare professionals will integrate the forms into their clinical practice to enhance these records and document ongoing interaction with patients. The kit includes: assessment forms, pain assessment scales, consent and treatment forms, pain diaries, clinical follow-up forms, drug abuse screening tools, and other reference papers and defi nitions.
With the Partners Against Pain resources, Purdue hopes to strengthen the communication between doctors and patients so that together they may strategically and successfully fight chronic pain.
Partners Against Pain recognizes that documentation is an essential way to support more precise evaluation of chronic pain patients. PAP gives physicians the resources and tools they need to explain to patients why they are prescribing medication and what they are prescribing. Initial assessment helps doctors and patients collaborate on building a pain management plan so that as treatment moves forward, they may review and assess medication effectiveness and overall pain management progress. The PAP Assessment Forms help physicians record in great detail all the information they need to keep a patient’s therapy on track.
Pain Assessment Scale PAP Pain Assessment Scales provide physicians with the resources to best interpret the degree of comfort or discomfort a patient may be experiencing. Th e tools enhance communication, which aids doctors in developing individualized pain management programs for each patient. Th e varieties of evaluation strategies help a patient describe his or her pain in a way they feel most comfortable or are best able. Th e Pain Faces Scale, for example, is a visual pictorial aimed at children who may be unable to verbally describe their pain but may be able to recognize their pain’s related facial expression. For adults, the Brief Pain Inventory is a comprehensive compilation of numerical scales, but it also allows for visual identifi cation on an illustrated body form. All the Pain Assessment Scales on the PAP website help evaluate but also document and track patient pain.
Consent and Treatment Forms
State laws may vary, but in addition to mandated informed-consent forms to initiate opioid therapy, some physicians may also be required to administer to patients a single pain-management agreement. Essential to physicians to protect their practices, consent and treatment forms also ensure and enhance communication between physicians and patients. State medical boards should be referenced before any documents are administered, but on the PAP website, physicians will find sample agreements that they should consider adopting into their practice.
Managing pain can be a stressful time for patients. PAP recommends that patients keep diaries to help relieve this stress and enhance the communication between patients and their caregivers and physicians. Diaries also help to document pain symptoms and keep medication schedules on track. The Pain Diaries offered on the PAP website range from simple severity scales to complex spreadsheets that log pain by the hour, location, and severity. The Keeping a Pain Diary resource is a useful guide to why patients should keep a diary—“to help you describe what is happening to you while it is happening”—that also provides tips on what to write—questions such as “does the pain change during the day?” that can be answered as a diary entry.
Clinical Follow-UpThe forms provided in this section help doctors analyze analgesic efficacy, adverse pharmacological effects, and physical and psychological function related to opioid or other medical treatment. These forms streamline follow-up visit procedures so that doctors may easily track the progress of their patients and document all medication plans and their progress.
Drug Abuse Screening Tools
Because pain relief-seeking behavior can often be mistaken for drug-seeking behavior, these forms help doctors evaluate patients for drug dependency and abuse.
Reference Papers and Definitions This section from the PAP Pain Assessment Kit provides a list of additional articles to reference (not for download) from JAMA, the Archives of Internal Medicine, Journal of American Board of Family Practice, Federation of State Medical Boards, and the American Academy of Pain Medicine.