| One-Minute Clinician

Postoperative Pain: Start Early, Focus on What You Can Do

Individual patient characteristics should guide the treatment plan. One creates a post-surgical treatment plan that is personalized. So it’s patient-specific, patient-centered, patient-focused personalized care plan. We have a world of generic drugs. We have no generic patients. Each patient is assessed and reassessed on a personal individualized level. Their fears or anxieties, the length of surgery, how many surgeries they’ve gone through, their past experience, their social history, psychiatric history, past medical history, their co-morbidities, their renal function, the outcomes of the surgery. We tell the postoperative patient ‘You will experience pain but our goal is to decrease that on two fronts--how much and how often.’ It’s important to talk with our patients--not talk to them. Consider patient and family needs and expectations. What other pain states do they have concurrently with the surgical pain? Listen and follow up to see how they are doing and never promise what you can’t deliver. Remind your patients if you can with open dialogue about the outcome that you’re trying to achieve to satisfy both their needs and the family needs.

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