Pain is not being adequately assessed, our new study shows
Last week was European Week Against Pain, and to mark this information from a new study was released. It is a study from a group of primary care physicians across Europe with special interest in pain and pain management called OPENMinds Primary Care – and I am part of that group.
What our study has shown is, that more than half (52%) of European primary care physicians use no form of assessment tool to measure peoples’ levels of pain  despite chronic pain affecting 1 in 5  adults across Europe. A study made by us – the DoloTest Group – has demonstrated, that 34% of all visits to primary care are due to a pain problem .
This new study has been given the name PROACT (Primary care Resources, Objectives And Challenges in Treatment) in Pain survey, and it is conducted in 13 European countries with a total of 1309 GP’s participating.
The PROACT Key findings show 84% of physicians agree that chronic pain is one of the most challenging conditions to treat, and 81% agree that the impact of chronic pain on patients’ ‘quality of life’ tends to be under assessed in primary care. Assessment is key to ensuring chronic pain is properly controlled, so these findings lead us to a serious concern. The findings of the PROACT in Pain are supported by a previously published pan-European in-depth survey – the Pain in Europe study  – of over 4,000 adults with chronic pain, where 71% of people reported that the most common way for their doctor to determine how much pain they were experiencing was for them to tell the doctor about their pain themselves, rather than by the doctor using a pain scale. In fact, only 9% of chronic pain patients reported that they had ever been scored on a pain scale by any doctor or medical professional, but the PROACT documents that 81% of the GPs in the study found that not just pain but Quality of Life is under assessed in primary care. It seems the GPs know it is important, but just not do it, we don’t know why, but fact is that one of the multiple advantages of using DoloTest is to make the process of measuring Quality of Life easy, straight forward and available while together with the patient.
Discussing the findings, Dr Martin Johnson, of the OPENMinds Primary Care group and RCGP Clinical Champion for Chronic Pain says: “Awareness of the impact of pain and the need for correct assessment and monitoring is crucial. People with chronic pain and their physicians need to work together to ensure that there is regular and comprehensive assessment. Accurate assessment of pain in a consultation is achievable using the right techniques. The correct assessment of pain from the outset, leads to better overall management and care in the long-term.”
Also the EFIC (European Federation of IASP Chapters) president Hans Krauss has commented on the findings: “Assessment is vital to our understanding of pain. There is a real need to determine whether any notable improvements in pain intensity have occurred during consultation. This cannot be achieved without proper assessment.”
Assessment of Quality of Life is a MUST in proper Pain Management !
- Johnson, M., Collett, B., Castro-Lopes, J. What support do primary care physicians need to overcome barriers to effective management of chronic pain? OPENMinds Primary Care initiative. Poster presented at the 7th Congress of the European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC), Hamburg, Germany, 21-24 September 2011
- Breivik H, Collett B, Ventafridda V, et al. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur J Pain. 2006; 10(4): 287-333.
- Kristiansen K, Lyngholm-Kjærby, Moe C. Pain and depression Profiles in Primary care using DoloTest® Submitted for publication
Kim Kristiansen, M.D. (2011). Pain is not being adequately assessed, our new study shows Picture of Pain Blog : http://blog.dolotest.com/2011/10/18/pain-is-not-being-adequately-assessed-our-new-study-shows/