Pain Patient Support
In the same way that providers benefit from additional education on managing chronic pain, the complexity of living with chronic pain makes supporting community members with pain vitally important.
A factor that contributes to the complexity of the overdose situation is the overlap of pain patients who have previously developed or have substance use disorders. If people who have pain and people who have substance use disorders were separate non-overlapping groups, then an effective intervention might be simpler. However, whether the use of prescription medications is legitimate or not is irrelevant when unintentional overdose deaths can be prevented.
Communities and health care professionals can work in many ways to optimize pain management and support patients with pain. The following is a list of some of the activities that have been successfully implemented.
Promoting adoption of the CPI toolkits for primary care providers, EDs, and care managers.
Medicaid policy change: Mandatory use of patient–provider agreements, medical home, and pharmacy home for high risk patients which could also be adopted by private insurance companies.
Support groups for pain patients and their families.
ED case manager for patients with chronic pain.
Medical practice vetting of local pain clinics and facilitation of specialized pain clinic referrals.