Communication with patients and family on pain treatment

Communication with patients and family on pain treatment

Patients (and families) are often very worried about getting addicted to opioids and becoming “drug addicts”. Educating the patient ahead of time helps to significantly relieve such anxiety. Here are some sample dialogues that you can use in talking to patients (and families) about pain medications:

“Mr. Smith, your pain is due to the XXXXX illness that you have. Many patients with advanced illness such as yours experience moderate to severe pain. Pain is a unpleasant sensation that will drain your energy and decrease the quality of your life. We can safely and effectively treat your pain with medications like morphine.”

“Some patients are worried that they may become addicted to morphine type drugs. We know from research that patients who have pain due to advanced illness rarely get addicted to morphine like drugs. So please do not be concerned about becoming addicted.”

“As people progress in the illness trajectory, they may experience more pain and will need more pain medications. I anticipate that we will need to increase your pain medication dosage over time if necessary. ”

“Sometimes the body gets tolerant to pain medication i.e. it gets used to the current dose of pain medication and will need higher doses of pain medications over time. This is not unusual and nothing to be concerned about. I will be monitoring your medications closely. So please do not worry. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.”

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