End of life - pain management; Hospice - pain management
Palliative care helps people with serious illnesses feel better. One of the problems a serious illness can cause is pain. No one can look at you and know how much pain you have. Only you can feel and describe your pain.
Pain that is always or almost always present can lead to lack of sleep, depression, or anxiety. These can make it harder to do things or go places, and harder to enjoy life. Pain can be stressful for you and your family. But with treatment, pain can be managed.
First, your doctor or nurse will find out:
You can tell your doctor or nurse how much pain you have by measuring it on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (the worst pain possible). You choose the number that describes how much pain you have now. You can do this before and after treatments, so you and your health care team can tell how well your treatment works.
There are many treatments for pain. Which treatment is best for you depends on the cause and amount of your pain. Several treatments may be used at the same time for the best pain relief. These include:
You can also take medicines, such as:
Understand your medicines, how much to take, and when to take them.
If you have concerns about your pain medicine, talk to your nurse or doctor.
Some people who take narcotics to treat pain become addicted to them. If you are concerned about addiction, talk to your nurse or doctor.
Call your doctor if your pain is not well-controlled or if you have side effects from your pain treatments.
Bookbinder M, McHugh ME. Symptom management in palliative care and end of life care. Nurs Clin North Am. 2010;45:271-327.
Mercadente S. Challenging pain problems. In: Walsh D, Caraceni AT, Fainsinger R, et al., eds. Palliative Medicine. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2008:chap 253.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.