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Pain is a significant national health problem which is the most common reason people seek out medical care Poorly treated pain is a major concern for the million of Americans currently suffering with pain Pain management has become the focus of several regulatory organizations The American Pain Society created the phrase Pain the Fifth Vital Sign and promoted the need for increased awareness of pain management among healthcare providers Lafleur 2004 Pulse blood pressure core temperature and respiration were once the basic vital signs now pain has been added Measuring and treating pain is part of providing quality care According to the American Pain Society 50 million people suffer from intractable pain Clark 2003 CNN reported that the total nationwide cost of pain related lost productivity was estimated 612 billion annually Associated Press 2003 Persistent pain can lead to more serious problems Pain can directly or indirectly suppress immune mechanisms that defend the body Davidhizar and Bartlett 2000 The failure to treat pain adequately constitutes one of the biggest problems that people face today The medical community is viewed as having limited success in helping patients deal with pain Hart 2003 Pain is a personal experience that is unique to each individual experiencing it The patient not the clinician is the authority on their pain and self-report is the most reliable indicator of pain JCAHO 2001 Due to the subjectivity the concept of pain can be hard to communicate and describe There is a lack of consistency in not only how patients perceive and communicate pain but also how providers assess and treat pain Some providers do not even make pain a priority in their delivery of care However it is not a concept that can be ignored There are medications and treatments available In recent years pain management has become an important clinical concern for nursing professionals The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations JCAHO has developed pain management quality standards that must
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