While many advances have been made in pain management, the resulting pharmaceutical solutions come with a list of side effects, both physical and economic. And, there has yet to be an established standard.
It is well known that a chaotic environment can contribute to stress. What is not addressed is that a distracting, uncomfortable, and impersonal environment can also contribute to stress and increase the need for pain management.
Further, suffering is hardly addressed by medication, but can be relieved or lessened in an environment that itself, is a caregiver.
Gate Control Theory of Pain (Melzac, 1968) states, “Pain can be treated not only by trying to cut down the sensory input by anesthetic block, surgical intervention and the like, but also by influencing the motivational-affective and cognitive factors as well.”
The interface between patients and their environment is both sensory and cognitive. A patient environment that is comforting, minimizes distractions, and provides positive distractions is a proactive component in managing pain.
In the current HCAHPS survey, the single question asked regarding pain refers to how often a patient experienced his/her pain as being well controlled.
“Well-controlled” demands more than drugs. It requires extra steps to reduce patients’ suffering as well as their pain. It also requires that the patient learn to participate in their own recovery and the clinical team support and encourage multi-model strategies to mediate pain.
Here are some resources you can use to help with pain management in your hospital:
Also, check out these other searchable research databases.
If you’d like to have Dr. Susan E. Mazer speak at your next meeting or conference about creating a healing environment, contact us.