The National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC) database of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is adding 22 evidence-based quality measures related to pain management.
The measures, submitted to the NQMC by AMDA‒The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, assess implementation of AMDA’s pain management clinical practice guidelines for long-term care (LTC) settings and also can be used to measure how a facility or individual is managing pain in those settings.
“This is one of AMDA's first steps in defining quality in the post-acute and LTC setting,” says Matthew Wayne, MD, CMD, past president of AMDA and current chairman of the organization’s quality committee. “Our quality committee will now look to translate these implementation measures, where applicable, into physician quality measures.”
The measures are important, according to AMDA, because pain assessment in older adults can be under-recognized or under-treated due to the nature of and societal attitudes toward pain; the misconception that pain is a natural or expected consequence of aging; and reluctance to report pain for a variety of reasons, among them the belief that acknowledging pain signifies a weakness in character, the fear that pain is a symptom of serious disease and the belief that pain means that death is near.