Overcoming Barriers to Successful Pain Management in Older Adults– Approximately 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain each year. Pain is a primary symptom of most chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many neurological disorders. As such, pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined and is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Appropriate pain management is of particular concern in the older adult population. Older adults are likely to experience acute and chronic pain from a variety of medical conditions with the impact extending far beyond the pain itself, increasing the risk of depression, sleep problems, and hospitalization, as well as reducing patient quality of life and increasing overall costs.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) face numerous challenges in providing optimal pain management, including changing regulatory/legal environments and the complexity of their patients’ medical conditions. NPs must determine optimal treatment approaches for pain management in the setting of what has been called dual public health crises: meeting the medical imperative to relieve suffering and protecting public safety. Increasing the focus on public safety, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy announced this year a national prescription drug abuse prevention plan, which focuses primarily on the increasing problem of prescription opioid abuse. Recognizing that opioid pain medications have “great potential for relieving suffering, as well as great potential for abuse,” the action plan seeks to minimize abuse of the prescription drugs while also ensuring access for their appropriate use.
Incorporate pain scales and other measurement tools to identify the pain generator and assess control of acute and chronic pain in older adults.
Summarize the elements of a comprehensive pain treatment plan, integrating psychological, social, and rehabilitation approaches along with medical interventions appropriate to the pain complaint.
Outline strategies to decrease the risk of opioid analgesic abuse, including proper opioid dosing, storage, and disposal as well as emerging opioid formulations designed to decrease the risks of diversion and abuse.
Review current legal/regulatory requirements designed to ensure safe and responsible prescribing of opioids for pain management.
1.0 Free AANP CEUs for Nurse Practitioners which includes 0.5 Hours of Pharmacology