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Health Care Organizations Urge Hospitals to Treat Pain More Aggressively

Press Release Date: October 12, 1995

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research today announced it has teamed up with three health care organizations to encourage hospitals nationwide to become familiar with AHCPR's post-surgical acute pain guideline and adapt it to their institutions. Joining AHCPR in this effort are the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Hospital Association.

Under this partnership, the AHCPR-sponsored acute pain guideline will be mailed to hospitals nationwide, along with a cover letter describing how other hospitals have successfully used it to help post-surgical patients better control pain, get out of bed earlier and recover more rapidly. The guideline was developed by a private-sector multidisciplinary panel of health care experts and a consumer. This panel conducted an extensive literature search and reviewed thousands of medical studies on pain management.

AHCPR Administrator Clifton R. Gaus, ScD, said, "Many hospitals across the country are reporting how the acute pain guideline is helping patients return to activity more quickly, and that their patients are feeling more satisfied with their care. Through this partnership, we hope to optimize the treatment of pain and help improve the quality of patient care."

The guideline—entitled Acute Pain Management: Operative or Medical Procedures and Trauma—emphasizes an aggressive approach to pain management by using a strong, interdisciplinary approach; involving patients in developing their own pain control plans prior to surgery; and frequent assessment of patients' pain by health care professionals. It also recommends that each hospital, in cooperation with its staff, establish a pain management quality improvement program.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855. AMA Science News Dept. at (312) 464-4430; ANA, Joan Meehan, (202) 651-7020 or Sara Foer, (202) 651-7023; AHA, Etta Fielek, (202) 626-2358.

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