Effective pain management in patients in hospital
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Effective pain management in patients in hospital

Candy McCabe Florence Nightingale Foundation chair in clinical nursing practice research, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Bath and University of the West of England, Bristol, England

Chronic pain is experienced by between one third and one half of the UK population. Nurses should ensure that patients’ pain is assessed and managed when they present to hospital, including pre-existing chronic pain and acute pain as a result of trauma or surgical interventions. Acute pain that is inadequately managed may result in chronic pain, impeding the patient’s return to normal function and daily activities. Depression and increasing age affect the likelihood of patients experiencing chronic pain. Nurses should be familiar with the pain assessment tools available for use with older people and be aware of the potential issues of polypharmacy and altered sensitivity to medication in older people. Nurses can manage patients’ pre-existing chronic pain, or likely post-operative pain, by working collaboratively with patients, their carers or families where appropriate, and the multidisciplinary team. For patients undergoing surgery, this cooperation should begin preoperatively and continue into the post-operative period.

Nursing Standard. 31, 29, 42-46. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10736

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 01 November 2016

Accepted: 03 January 2017

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