Pain Management & Palliative Care
Palliative care is used to manage a disease or medical condition that is serious or life threatening by easing pain and other associated physical, emotional, or psychosocial symptoms. Palliative care also eases other distressing symptoms, like depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and shortness of breath.
Palliative care may last for weeks, months, or years, and the relief of moderate to severe pain during that time can greatly improve quality of life. The biggest problem with palliative care is that many people are referred for care too late. By starting this type of care early, and by using the right type of pain management, nearly all pain problems can be relieved or reduced.
The evaluation should include:
– Diagnosis, prognosis, end of life or not
– Patient’s goals of care
– Comorbidities and other symptoms aside from pain
– Extensive list of current medications for pain as well as comorbid conditions
– Present/past adherence to treatments
– Previous experiences with pain medications, beliefs, cultural, spiritual dimensions
– Patient and family expectations regarding pain management
– Education level