Quality Pain Management: What is it Exactly?




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While reading through various anesthesia articles this week, I came across an abstract of a study that was conducted by Sigridur Zoëga MS, RN, CNS and company earlier this month. The purpose of the study was to “explore the concept of quality pain management (QPM) in adult hospitalized patients.”

According to Zoëga, et al, of Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavík, Iceland, a commonly agreed-on definition and concept of QPM is seldom found. As an anesthesia services company, we found it difficult to believe. However, according to this abstract: “of more than 5,000 articles found, data were restricted to 37 selected key articles published in peer-reviewed journals.” Out of these 37 articles, Zoëga, et al, created what they discovered to be an all-encompassing definition of QPM.

After reading this, we felt compelled to designate quality pain management, and the definition thereof, as the main topic of this week’s Somnia Blog post.

As experts in anesthesia practice and management, we at Somnia Anesthesia like to think of quality pain management as something that comes natural to us. We also agree with the authors of the study that there is not enough literature on QPM, and that it is unjustified. Therefore, we have decided to  add our definition of QPM to medical literature, right here in this blog post.

According to Somnia Anesthesia’s founder and CEO, also a board certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Marc E Koch:

“Quality pain management is hard to define since quality is really in the mind of the person who is or was in pain.  An analogy would be asking a chef how their entrée tasted, when it’s really the customer who should be asked. That said, patients in pain often define quality pain management based on consistent outcomes:

1. Have I been able to return to work?

2. Have I been able to engage in most of my activities of daily living?

3. Has my sleep returned to normal?

4. Is my discomfort getting in the way of my happiness or constricting my liberties?

As an overarching remark, many patients view pain through a kaleidoscope—meaning a myriad of inter-related issues and providers–rather than through a monocle—meaning a single issue solved by a singular approach.  A pain center that appreciates the value of sleep, nutrition, weight, exercise and psychosocial impingements—in addition to blocks, pumps and medical management—often has wider appeal and proves to be more durable than those with a narrower set of services."

Do you have a different definition of QPM? The more we discuss QPM and it’s meaning, the more literature that will develop and be released on the topic. This is critical to the growth and evolution of quality pain management and all of its facets. This will result in better quality care for patients and an increase in patient satisfaction, which, at Somnia, is always paramount.



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