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Postoperative Pain is an Under Appreciated, Under Treated Problem in the United States

report concludes that technology alone will not lead to safer and more effective postoperative analgesia. Accordingly, the expert panel identified 10 national priorities that will have the greatest impact in improving the state of postoperative pain management. Ultimately involving the support and active participation of many stakeholders -- the federal government, state and local government agencies, professional societies and health care practitioners, health educators, and patient advocates -- this platform calls for action in the following areas:

1. Elevate postoperative pain management as a priority concern.

The report calls on the health care community to recognize the extent

of postoperative pain and the impact of inadequate treatment, which is

the first step in increasing the resources for research funding,

education and the development of new therapeutic options.

2. Expand efforts to educate surgical patients about their rights to

effective pain management.

Because inadequate education of patients regarding postoperative pain

is one of the factors leading to under treatment, the report calls on

hospitals to utilize existing tools, such as the Patient Care

Partnership: Understanding Expectations, Rights and

Responsibilities(1), a document that incorporates the Patients Bill of

Rights into plain language for patients and caregivers, to become

better advocates for their patients. The report also calls on

advocates to raise patient expectations about what is possible

regarding treating postoperative pain.

3. Pass the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007 during the 110th

session of Congress.

Introduced in July 2007 (H.R.1283/S.626), this bill would provide

federal research funds to advance clinical and basic research on pain

and its management.

4. Double th

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