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Pain Control In Chronic Disease Management: Does Your Care Miss The Target Every Time Because Underlying Issues Aren’t Addressed?

chronic disease management

As you look to refine or improve your chronic disease management program, consider whether pain management is in the mix. Often times, pain control is an assessment item, but not a factor that truly defines the ability for a program to succeed or fail. It is time to take a closer look at pain control and whether your agency makes it a priority in the success of your program.

Considering Pain Control Versus Pain Management:

This is a key item for care planning. The assessment of this item in the EMR is sometimes nothing more than a number or a relative term given by the patient as a description. However, this is often where pain is left, just in the assessment. If the pain reported everyday is a 3 on a typical 1-10 pain scale, maybe it is discounted as the patient’s “normal”. However, chronic pain will skew the patient ability to be an active participant in the success of the care plan as much as severe acute pain will. Many patients will “manage” chronic pain with an ongoing level of pain at all times. For these chronic pain patients, they have learned to function with a certain level of pain everyday. However, this is often dismissed when it comes to whether or not the patient it capable of active participation on care plan goals. Let’s look a little further into this concept in your care plan.

Pain In The Chronic Disease Management Care Plan:

First things first, unless your patient is pain free, then clinicians must consider the impact of pain on every item or skill taught to them. It can affect concentration to recall teaching as well as the ability to perform tasks such as dressings or medi-set fills effectively. If you can imagine what a bad headache does for your own concentration, then it should be easy to understand why a patient can’t be an effective learner or participant in the care plan when chronic pain exists. Clinicians need to consider whether chronic pain is really managed or whether the patient has learned to live with it. Does the patient desire to work on a chronic pain management program? Did your clinicians ask?  This means all your skilled clinicians.

Next is to incorporate a pain management program into what you are doing with the patient regarding chronic disease management. Once pain is truly managed, the patient can focus, recall, and demonstrate skill in the areas necessary to provide self-care safely and effectively. Consider your frequent flyer patient who you have had multiple times with a primary diagnosis of diabetes. If the patient’s pain was a true unrecognized or unaddressed factor, how effective has any intervention by your staff really been. You need a chronic disease management program that incorporates pain into how the nurses and therapists address the care plan with each visit.

Kenyon Homecare Consulting Can Help:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have a chronic disease management program for the individual clinicians as well as the agency to promote a cohesive approach to truly managing chronic disease. Let us assist you to improve your coordinated care planning efforts and make sure every visit counts. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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