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Postoperative Pain is an Under Appreciated, Under Treated Problem in the United States
Date:10/3/2007

Agenda-Setting Report Issued to Address Gaps in Care

CHERRY HILL, N.J., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when both inadequate and overly aggressive pain management after surgery are commonplace in the United States, the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN) has issued a 10-step action plan to address the factors that may lead to inappropriate medication use and potential adverse events for patients. ASPAN is the professional organization representing more than 55,000 nurses practicing in all phases of preanesthesia and postanesthesia.

The report -- The State of Postoperative Pain Management: A Need For Improvement -- states that only by elevating postoperative pain management as a priority concern among health care institutions, providers and policymakers, will the significant costs of inadequate care be reduced in the United States. According to studies cited in the report, up to 75 percent of patients experience pain after surgery. However, many receive inadequate treatment, which can result in extended hospitalization, delayed healing and mobility, higher morbidity and mortality, and the development of a chronic pain state.

Issued as a nationwide call to action, the report documents cases of overly aggressive pain management, which are associated with increases in over-sedation and fatal respiratory depression. In addition, the report cites the continuing problem of medication errors.

"Based on our assessment of the issues surrounding the management of acute postoperative pain, we know we need to address a number of complex problems, all of which impact patients receiving appropriate relief after surgery," said Pamela E. Windle, MS, RN, 2007-2008 Immediate Past President of ASPAN and Nurse Manager, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas. "In focusing our efforts on creating identifiable action steps in this report, we believe we provide a blueprint for a successful plan to address this major public health
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SOURCE ASPAN
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