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Joint Commission Urges Patients to 'Speak Up' About Pain
Date:9/16/2008

Education campaign coincides with Pain Awareness Month

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pain is just a part of life, right? Maybe not. Pain is actually one of the main reasons that Americans seek medical treatment, and untreated pain can have serious effects -- slowed recovery times, poor quality of life and higher health care costs.

The Joint Commission is launching a national campaign to help Americans work with their health care professionals to better manage pain. The new education campaign is part of The Joint Commission's award-winning Speak Up(TM) program that helps patients become more informed and involved in their health care, and coincides with Pain Awareness Month in September.

"Effective pain management is a crucial component of good health care, and treating pain is the responsibility of all caregivers," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. "The Joint Commission encourages patients to ask the right questions so that they can find relief."

Beginning in 2000, The Joint Commission has made pain assessment and management a priority in its national standards and accreditation process. The new campaign includes a brochure entitled "What You Should Know about Pain Management," which identifies questions and answers that will help patients find out more about pain treatments that can be used for pain caused by injury, illness, or surgery. Among the topics are: talking about and describing pain, understanding pain treatments, managing pain, and questions to ask caregivers. The brochure encourages patients to ask their caregivers specific questions about pain medication, including doses and times that medication should be taken, side effects, how long the medication will take to work, and what to do if the medication does not work.

The framework of the Speak Up(TM) program urges patients to:

Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you do
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SOURCE The Joint Commission
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