Tools for patient pain management

Good information strengthens discussions

A good program on pain management should include tools that empower the patient, says Pamela Bennett, BSN, RN, director of external affairs for the American Pain Foundation in Baltimore and an independent pain management consultant. There are many resources available, including Web sites, pamphlets, and books.

For instance, Roxane Laboratories in Columbus, OH, has a packet of palliative care educational resources. The packet includes information printed by the company as well as materials from other sources. Company resources include a pain assessment ruler, a symptom diary, and a booklet on how to maintain quality of life through palliative care. Roxane Laboratories can be contacted at P.O. Box 16532, Columbus, OH 43216. Telephone: (614) 272-4787.

Booklets from other sources include the Patient Guide to Managing Cancer Pain, published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in Rockville, MD, and Principles of Analgesic Use in the Treatment of Acute Pain and Cancer Pain, published by the American Pain Society in Glenview, IL.

The book Pain: Clinical Manual, written by Margo McCaffery and published by Mosby-Year Book in St. Louis, is for health care providers, but it has patient information that can be copied, says Bennett. It is available from Amazon.com (www. amazon.com) for $39.95.

The American Pain Foundation Web site (www. painfoundation.org) contains a wealth of information. It addresses disease-specific pain, such as that caused by cancer, arthritis, or back problems; pain management issues; and pain medications. It also provides financial information on how low-income people can get pain medications at no cost or low cost. A pain diary provides a way for patients to track pain so they will be armed with vital facts the next time they discuss pain management with their physician.

To help patients advocate for better pain management, health educators can obtain information on cancer pain and acute pain management by logging onto the AHRQ Web site (www.ahrq. gov).

For more information on educating patients about pain medication, contact:

Pamela Bennett, BSN, RN, Director of External Affairs, American Pain Foundation, 111 S. Calvert St., Suite 2700, Baltimore, MD 21202. Telephone: (410) 385-5276. Fax: (410) 385-1832. Web site: www.painfoundation.org.