Virginia Mason Memorial's process of acute pain management begins with the belief that patients should have access to the best level of pain relief that can be safely provided.
Virginia Mason Memoriail physicians, pharmacists and nurses will assist patients and their families in better understanding pain management therapies by discussing:
- Non-medication ways to relieve pain
- As needed pain medications
- The difference between pain tolerance and medication dependency
- The risks of long-term use andfor higher dose opiate medication
- Pain intervention techniques to prevent pain from becoming severe
- The patient's previous experiences and perceptions about pain management
When patients have received treatment for their pain, VMM providers, pharmacists and nurses will monitor
the patient's response to the medication and/or non-medication therapy. Monitoring includes, but is not limited to:
- Reviewing the patient's vital signs and behavioral responses
- Reviewing the patient's own perceptions of treatment effectiveness
- Using a standard pain rating scale and developing an individualized pain relief goal
- Using the least invasive pain control methods first
- Involving family members when appropriate
Pain relief for Substance Abuse Disorders
- Patients with substance abuse conditions have the same right to pain relief as any other patient, and VMM is committed to providing effective pain relief measures for substance abuse patients as can be safely provided.
- VMM physicians, pharmacists and nurses also understand the specific needs of patients in recovery and those on Methadone or Suboxone maintenance. Acute pain management goals and treatment will be based on individual patient needs and requirements.