Purpose The treatment of chronic pain is complex and challenging. Narcotic medications are a safe and effective method for managing pain; however, it is necessary to closely monitor their use. The Pain Management Program in Metlakatla, AK, allows for careful monitoring of prescribed medications. Chronic pain patients meet regularly with their doctor to discuss treatment plans. However, physicians felt that the pain management protocols could be improved.
Methods Chronic pain management was researched using Medline and pain management programs from other institutions were reviewed. The local program was critically reviewed. Chronic pain patients were asked about their understanding of the purpose of the program. They were also asked to discuss the efficacy of the program and comment on their personal treatment plan.
Results Suggested modifications included the development of a chronic pain log and a patient brochure. The chronic pain log facilitates an objective review of the patient's pain symptoms and treatment plan. It also establishes a way to track the efficacy of the treatment plan over an extended period of time. The patient brochure includes information about chronic pain, the purpose of the program, possible side effects of pain medication, and references to resources on chronic pain.
Conclusion Improvements to the Pain Management Program were implemented to efficiently and effectively treat chronic pain. Including patient input in the reevaluation of health care programs increases the benefit and applicability of the implemented changes. Evaluation of this protocol can reveal if the strategies improved patient and provider satisfaction with the overall Pain Management Program.
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