New Changes to Assessment and Treatment of Pain

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Clinicians and providers who prescribe or administer pain medications, heads up! Beginning Tues., Feb. 7, Seton will be rolling out new pain management practices. Some of these pain management practices have already been rolled out at other Ascension ministries with great success.

Why Changing?

Emerging literature and evidence-based pain management strategies indicate that chronic pain impacts more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke. Also research has shown that in 2013, 2 million Americans, ages 12 and older, either abused or were dependent on opioid pain relievers resulting in 16,000 deaths in the U.S. from overdose related to opioid pain relievers.

Also, scheduled non-opioid medications and integrative therapies that provide consistent pain relief are underutilized.

What’s Changing?

The goal is to provide patient centered pain management that allows the patient to participate in their healthcare recovery/treatment whenever possible.

The new changes for adults include:

  • Including a multimodal pain management PowerPlan that encourages the use of scheduled non-opioid analgesics with as needed short acting opioids for breakthrough pain.
  • Establishing an interdisciplinary Therapeutic Activity Goal (TAG) that fosters collaboration between the patient and the clinical team. This discussion drives the plan of care and ensures focus on patient’s needs.

The new changes for adults and pediatrics include:

  • Removing individual pain medication orders from most Powerplans to avoid medication duplication.
  • Introducing new pain assessment scales and tools that do not all have the same numeric scoring range. Furthermore, scores on a self-reporting tool do not equal scores on an observation behavioral assessment tool.
  • Increasing the use of integrative/complementary therapies such guided imagery, breathing techniques, healing touch, aromatherapy, etc. These and other options can be found in the Pain Management Interdisciplinary Plan of Care (IPOC) when initiated for the patient.
  • Removing reference to pain intensity (mild/moderate/severe or numeric values) from all order sets.
  • Patients who come in on complex, chronic pain management treatments will be able to able to have their medication regimen continued while in hospital.

What You Need to Do Before Feb. 7

To be ready, Seton nurses need to complete their specialty-specific online pain management modules in myLearningThese modules are due Fri., Feb. 3, 2017.  Each module is approximately 10-15 minutes in length.

Providers are asked to read the tips and tricks in COMPASS to understand the new orders. For directions, see the .pdf attached.


For more information on pain management, visit this site on the intranet. We also have an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Chad Dieterichs will provide support at each site.

The Seton team includes:

Attached Documents