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A Guideline Update for Managing Acute Pain in Perioperative Settings

A Guideline Update for Managing Acute Pain in Perioperative Settings

Pain management is a critical component medical care for patients undergoing surgery, but studies suggest that up to 70% of individuals undergoing surgery complain of moderate-to-severe pain after their procedure. Under-treatment of perioperative pain can lead to unnecessary suffering, decreased physical and psychological health, and delays in patient recovery and hospital discharges. Proper pain care has the potential to reduce the risk of adverse events and to allow patients to actively participate in their recovery. In the February 2012 issue of Anesthesiology, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) updated its practice guidelines for acute pain management in the perioperative period. The ASA update focused on adult and pediatric patients undergoing inpatient or outpatient surgery. “The new ASA recommendations update guidelines that were previously released in 2004,” says Michael A. Ashburn, MD, MPH, who served as chair of the ASA’s writing task force. “The document reflects the progress that has been made in acute pain management according to findings from clinical studies over the past several years as well as expert opinion.” Providing High Quality Pain Care To provide high quality pain care to surgical patients, the ASA recommends that a dedicated interdisciplinary team consisting of surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, anesthesiologists, pain specialists, and hospital administrators be assembled and included throughout the course of patient care. Furthermore, medical centers should develop institutional plans and foster an environment that allows for effective pain therapy. “Effective and safe use of available treatment options within the institution are important,” explains Dr. Ashburn. “This requires effective patient education efforts that range from basic bedside pain assessments to sophisticated pain management techniques and non-pharmacologic techniques. Ongoing education...
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