More than 90 million Americans suffer from a level of pain that affects their sleep, mood, and countless other events in their lives. But for some, pain is much more than a temporary inconvenience. It is a chronic problem, altering every aspect of their lives.
The primary goal of palliative program is to alleviate suffering to promote the highest quality of life possible for patients (and their families) facing life-threatening or advanced illnesses. The medical professionals in the Department of Pain and Palliative Medicine understand that pain and pain management are the vital ingredients necessary to achieve this goal. Compassionate, personalized care is focused on the relief of a full range of physical and psychological pain symptoms to help patients enjoy a full, productive, and most importantly, a comfortable life.
At Hackensack University Medical Center, pain is recognized as a “fifth vital sign,” after temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure. As part of our hospital-wide commitment to identifying patients’ pain, the medical center has implemented a facility-wide pain intensity rating scale. This reflects our attention to pain as a measure of overall wellness, a correlate for function, and as an indicator of comfort. Our nurses have undergone extensive in-service training to recognize and activate assessment and treatment protocols that are specifically designed to address our in-hospital patients’ pain.
Whether the patient is in need of palliation, suffering from post-surgical pain, or admitted through the ER for an acute pain crisis, our team has created a system for treating patients in pain. We have allocated specific time slots during our scheduled hours of operation; have set aside separate appointment times if patients need further follow up from the hospital; and have made available an after-hours consultation service that Hackensack UMC providers can access 24 hours a day for assistance with patients in pain. We have also set up in-hospital services for patients who are unable to manage on an out patient basis and need urgent or emergent medical care related to their pain. These modalities and provisions reflect our commitment to comprehensive pain management for all spectra of our patient population.