The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is calling on patients and health care providers to combat the undertreatment of chronic pain through strengthened patient-provider communication, awareness and advocacy. With more than 100 million Americans living with chronic pain, the societal cost of pain now exceeds $500 billion annually, including both direct health care costs and lost productivity.
"Patients living with acute and chronic pain need prompt and reliable access to their health care provider of choice and effective pain relief," said Dr. Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, president of AANP. "National Pain Awareness Month serves as a reminder that nearly one-third of Americans suffer daily from the debilitating condition of chronic pain."
National Pain Awareness month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the needs of people living with pain. AANP recommends that patients keep a daily health log of their pain symptoms and sleep patterns to share with their health care provider during their appointment, communicate the frequency of their pain and the impact of pain on their daily living, and request an appointment that provides sufficient time for a substantive consultation."
Chronic pain caused by conditions ranging from cancer, digestive diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic injuries, often lasts months or even years. Those who suffer from chronic pain may find it difficult or impossible to work, remain physically active, participate in daily tasks or enjoy a good quality of life.
The nation's 222,000 nurse practitioners handle more than 870 million patient visits annually, diagnose and treat chronic pain, and consider a range of therapies and treatments specific to each patient and their condition. NPs can prescribe medications and other treatments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"NPs are trained to administer safe and responsible treatment plans on behalf of our patients. It's important that we treat people with pain without stigma and ensure that they receive the care, treatment and compassion they deserve," concluded Dr. Cooke.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners