In this course, you will be able to develop a systems view for assessing and managing pain in the palliative care setting. By the end of the course, you will be able to: 1) Describe the pain problem in the palliative care setting; 2) Assess a person’s pain, 3) Explain the benefits of integrative therapies and pharmacologic strategies to manage pain.
In this module, you will review pain assessment basics. You will start with defining pain and the scope of the pain problem in the palliative care setting. You will review various pain types and causes of pain in people with serious illness. To understand how pain medications and integrative pain therapies work to decrease pain, you need to know how the body recognizes pain and makes a person hurt. Common barriers to good pain management and myths and misconceptions will be discussed. You will review how to evaluate a person’s pain and how to know if persons are having pain when they cannot tell you. Remember pain is a personal experience.
Non-Pharmacological pain treatment
In this module, you will review the many dimensions that can affect the way pain is expressed and how it responds to treatment. You will also review various integrative therapies or healing practices that focus on the relationship between the provider and whole person, including the mind, body, and spirit, to improve health, healing, and pain. You will start with defining complementary and alternative therapies and understanding the difference between the two. You will review four integrative health domains as defined by the National Center for Integrative Health which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Finally, you will evaluate the best evidence about the use of these therapies in managing pain in people with serious illness. Remember, it is important to ask patients if they use integrative health therapies. Try to understand their past experiences and attitudes toward non-drug treatments. The key is to find out what works for the person in pain with his/her unique characteristics. As caregivers we need to be open to various approaches and our patient’s wishes.
Medication Management (including over the counter and non-opioid medicines)
When people have pain their quality of life can be poor and they can experience more suffering. In this module, you will learn about non-opioid medications that can be used to treat pain and ease suffering.
Opioids, safety, and addiction
When people have pain their quality of life can be poor and they can experience more suffering. In this module, you will learn about opioid medications that can be used to treat pain and ease suffering.
Easing Pain: Assessment
In this module, you will review a case study of Mrs. Ana Garcia, a mock patient diagnosed with cervical cancer. Listen to her story and think about what you would do to advocate for her and help her pain. You will answer questions based on your new knowledge and skills you have learned from modules 1 to 4. This summative assessment has two parts. First, you will answer seven questions reflecting on material presented in the first two modules of our course, “Easing Pain.” Once you successfully pass the first part of the summative assessment, answer the next 8 questions about Anna’s case based on materials learned from modules 3 and 4. Good luck!
Nancy Robertson, Maurice Scott, Kelly Arora, Amos Bailey and Regina Fink
This course is useful for professional practitioners, non-professional caregivers and even patients themselves to understand the recommendations and, especially, the limitations of pain management. Importantly, a holistic view of pain, which is more than just the physical, in the palliative care setting is emphasized in this course, recognizing as well the complex nature of this entity. Furthermore, pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches to address pain concerns are acknowledged equally, which would hopefully clarify, especially to patients and their families, the reasons for instances wherein a pharmacologic intervention is seemingly not entertained right away or not maximized by practitioners.