NHPCO: Pain is not a complaint

Pain doesn’t have to be an assumed fact for the elderly or ill, and it doesn’t have to be suffered in silence. September is Pain Awareness Month, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) wants to change the misconceptions of pain and pain management.

“When someone is in pain, it can be impossible to think about anything else,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO, in a statement. “Pain can make it difficult for you to work, sleep, maintain relationships with friends and loved ones and participate in simple activities.”

Pain isn’t just physical; it can be mental or emotional. Proper pain management requires good communication between patients, their families and professional caregivers. Residents who express concerns or complaints about pain should be engaged in the pain management process, including giving caregivers feedback on pain intensity, when and where the pain tends to increase and what their pain tolerance goals are. Caregivers should encourage residents to describe different types of pain—including pain that comes and goes or pain that changes over time—rather than just saying, “it hurts.”

NHPCO provides additional information on types of pain, myths about pain and ways caregivers can engage residents in conversations about pain management on its national campaign website, LIVE Without Pain.

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Clinical , Executive Leadership