Best practices in pain management in primary care : a teaching project

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Pain is common and affects approximately 9 in 10 Americans and is the most common reason people seek health care. One of the first stops to receiving care is in a primary-care setting. Considering the high prevalence of patients with pain, it's important to have knowledge of pain and the management of pain conditions, as well as the psychosocial factors involved with a chronic-pain condition. Research has also shown that many healthcare professionals receive little education in their training programs. The purpose of this project was to improve chronic-pain management in a community health care center (CHCC). The specific aim was to increase knowledge about best practices in pain management by 10% in CHCC staff. A comprehensive assessment of a CHCC was conducted to assess the quality of pain management in the CHCC. Education was developed to address the knowledge needs about pain management that were revealed in the assessment. A review of the literature was conducted after the assessment to identify best practices in pain management. In-services that included information about current best practice guidelines for chronic-pain management were provided to the staff. A pre-test was administered prior to each presentation to assess current knowledge, and a post-test immediately followed each presentation to evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation. Qualitative feedback about the presentation was also elicited on the post test. The assessment revealed that 8.5% of the patient visits were for a diagnosis of chronic pain, and the staff requested more information about best practices in pain management. The pre/post test results showed that the specific aim was achieved. Qualitative feedback indicated that the staff appreciated the in-service and wanted more information on a regular basis. The nursing staff also indicated that they would like to play a larger role in helping to manage this population in the clinic. Given the growing number of persons living with chronic pain, continuing education about pain management best practices is needed by staff working in community health care centers to ensure adequate assessment and management of chronic pain. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed in this paper.




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