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Delivering an acute pain service

      Abstract

      Traditionally it has been the inpatient pain team's role to treat patients in pain while in an inpatient setting. The future is seeing the inpatient pain team's input being extended to the whole patient's journey including preoperatively and post-discharge. The treatment of a patient's pain is primarily an ethical and humanitarian obligation but effective pain management may also improve clinical outcomes. The treatment of pain from surgery or trauma reduces complication rates for example by improving mobilization and a patient's ability to take deep breaths and cough. When patients mobilize early they reduce their risk of venous thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism and pressure sores. A patient that cannot adequately cough or take deep breaths due to pain is at higher risk of pneumonia and respiratory compromise. From a health economics perspective patients who mobilize earlier and have fewer complications spend less time in hospital and therefore cost less. Untreated severe pain may also predispose patients to develop chronic pain or to take opioid pain medication for prolonged periods of time.

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