How to Conduct a Pain Assessment
Marijke Durning | NursingLink
Many patients experience pain unnecessarily. They may either have unrecognized or unacknowledged pain, or their pain may not be effectively relieved. In this day and age, most pain can be reduced, if not eliminated completely.
Another issue that is frequently brought up in discussions about pain is that of drug-seeking behavior. Some people are addicted to analgesics and will do just about anything to get a hold of them. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to confuse drug-seeking behavior with genuine pain, especially when personal beliefs are mixed in.
Finally, some believe that too many pain medications can make a patient addicted, and withhold adequate pain relief based on these principles. While this may happen in a very small minority of cases, studies have shown that if a patient truly needs an analgesic, they will not become addicted. They may, however, become drug-tolerant, which means the dose or the drug they are receiving isn’t as effective as it once was. This is not the same as addicted.
Pain cannot be treated if it isn’t picked up – which in most cases are the nurses in charge of the patient. The first line of defense for the patients is to have their nurses do thorough and effective pain assessments. Only then can they expect to receive the medical treatment they need.