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Managing Chronic Pain with Opioids: A Call for Change, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lynne Cobb
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"Managing Chronic Pain with Opioids:A Call for Change, 2017"
Media Contact:Karen Ross
Bellevue, WA (September 1, 2017) – Pain is the most common reason to seek medical care. Statistics show that 126 million adults have had recurrent pain in the past three months. Twenty-five million adults endure daily chronic pain, and of these, 23 million report pain so intense they are unable to work or care for themselves. Nevertheless, untreated or under-treated pain remains a serious public health problem in our nation. With the “aging of America,” the growing number of older adults who suffer from painful chronic conditions or require end-of-life care further highlights the urgent need for quality care in pain management. Chronic pain represents more years lost to disability than cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes combined.
Chronic pain causes suffering that lowers quality of life, and creates social isolation and stigmatization. People with chronic pain die at a 50% higher rate over 10 years than those without pain. And, chronic pain is a significant financial burden. Individuals with chronic pain incur $10,000 per year in medical expenses, costing our nation at least $600 billion per year in healthcare and disability costs. “There is a role for the judicious use of opioids to alleviate suffering for those with chronic pain, but at the same time we must minimize the risk of treatment-related harm. It is a national public health challenge, requiring new approaches in practice, education, research, and public policy” says NPHF President Phyllis Zimmer, MN, FNP, FAANP, FAAN.
Managing Chronic Pain with Opioids: A Call for Change, 2017, was written on behalf of NPHF by Paul Arnstein, PhD, FNP-C, RN-BC, FAAN, Barbara St. Marie, PhD, AGPCNP-BC, RN-BC, and Phyllis Arn Zimmer, MN, FNP, FAANP, FAAN. In the paper, the authors identify chronic pain as a public health crisis, discuss the relationship of chronic pain treatment and the rise of opioid use disorder, highlight the need for standardized terminology, outline the federal response to date to address the crisis, discuss the impact of health payment policies, and discuss the response from the professional community. They stress that adequate patient and professional education is essential. The paper then presents recommendations for change that address the inter-related public health concerns of 1) inadequately treated chronic pain and 2) the need to minimize morbidity and mortality related to both severe chronic pain and to opioid therapies.
Recommendations for Managing Chronic Pain with Opioids
The recommendations are presented in four areas, including:
1) Recommendations for Clinical Practice
2) Recommendations for Education
3) Recommendations for Research
4) Recommendations for Public Policy
The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation (NPHF) is committed to working with multiple organizations, clinicians, and public policy officials to address both the national opioid crisis and the need for effective management of chronic pain. The NPHF’s first white paper on this topic was released in 2010 and led to an invitation to present to the Institute of Medicine. That paper was a baseline assessment of the opioid epidemic. This white paper, Managing Chronic Pain with Opioids: A Call for Change, 2017, describes the current landscape, and highlights areas where further effort is required to address the problem. Both the 2010 and the 2017 White Papers may be viewed on the NPHF website:
The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation
The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation (NPHF) was launched in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Dedicated to raising the bar in healthcare, NPHF works on behalf of the nurse practitioner profession to make high-quality, effective care accessible through research, education, health policy, service, and philanthropy. The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation works to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis. In that spirit, NPHF periodically addresses relevant healthcare issues.

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