Pain is the most common symptom of any illness, and is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as âan unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with either actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damageâ. Palliative care specialists liaise and work with all the parties involved to treat and manage pain and symptoms in a coordinated plan. Often a palliative care physician or nurse can suggest alternatives to GPs or specialists that provide a better pain management outcome. Symptoms may include: Pain, Fatigue, Frustration, Difficulty breathing, Difficulty swallowing, Lack of appetite, Constipation Hope and hopelessness, Confusion. There are some guidelines for pain management in palliative care: Assessment of each pain fully before starting or changing analgesics; usage a pain assessment tool, Recording of a pain score and reviewing the patient regularly. Physical pain types include: nociceptive pain, neuropathic (nerve) pain, nerve pain, bone pain and episodic pain. Patients with pain may also have significant emotional, social or spiritual problems. When it comes to medications for pain management, there are two broad categories: opioids, which dull pain systemically, throughout the body; and adjuvant analgesics, or helper medications that can target specific types of pain, often by fighting inflammation. Opioid medications are available only by prescription. There are several opioid drugs that palliative care physicians most commonly prescribe for moderate to severe pain in the context of a serious, life-threatening illness. They are known as opioid analgesics: Hydrocodone, Morphine, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone.
Last date updated on July, 2014