Saturday, July 15, 2006

MGH - Our PLEDGE to Patients with Pain


  • Your caregivers will listen to you about your pain and take it seriously.
    Each person reacts differently to pain and to its treatment. Only you know what your pain feels like and how much it distresses you. Informing your care providers that you have pain and requesting treatment is not a sign of drug addiction, or being a "complainer." We need for you to tell us just how you feel.
  • Your pain will be carefully assessed.
    With your help, we will evaluate your pain carefully. We need specific information from you to help in this process. We may ask you to describe the intensity of your pain on a scale from zero to ten (where zero is no pain and ten is the worst imaginable pain). We need you to describe the quality of your pain (for instance, as stabbing, aching, or burning), its location, how it varies over time, and what makes it better or worse. We also need to find out from you how well our treatment is working and how long relief lasts.
  • We will provide you with the information you need to understand your pain and the ways it can be managed.
    We want to keep you informed about how we propose to diagnose your pain and how the pain can be treated. We hope to develop a plan of care that fits your values and goals. You should feel free to ask questions and to discuss with your physician and nurse the cause of your pain and the alternatives for treatment. Both medications and non-drug treatments may be helpful, and you should be informed of potential side effects of specific treatments. If the need arises, pain specialists are available to consult with your health care team.
  • We will seek to prevent pain as well as to treat it.
    Ongoing pain is not good for you. It hinders your recovery from illness and injury and your ability to enjoy life. Unnecessary pain should be avoided, and pain treatment should be given before a discomfort becomes troublesome. In general, pain is easier to manage and can be controlled with less medication when it is treated quickly and prevented from becoming severe. Let us know what seems to bring on your pain and how it can be avoided, and ask for treatment before the discomfort becomes difficult to bear.
  • We will try to respond promptly to your reports of pain.
    While we cannot always come immediately when you report a problem or concern with pain or its management, promptness is our goal.

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