Pain management in long-term care communities: A quality improvement initiative
Pain is underrecognized and undertreated in the long-term care (LTC) setting. To improve the management of pain for LTC residents, the authors implemented a quality improvement (QI) initiative at one LTC facility. They conducted a needs assessment to identify areas for improvement and designed a 2-hour educational workshop for facility staff and local clinicians. Participants were asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop, which showed significant improvement in their knowledge of pain management and confidence in their ability to recognize and manage residents' pain. To measure the effectiveness of the QI initiative, the authors performed a chart review at baseline and at 3 and 8 months after the workshop and evaluated relevant indicators of adequate pain assessment and management. The post-workshop chart reviews showed significant improvement in how consistently employees documented pain characteristics (ie, location, intensity, duration) in resident charts and in their use of targeted pain assessments for residents with cognitive dysfunction. The proportion of charts that included a documented plan for pain assessment was high at baseline and remained stable throughout the study. Overall, the findings suggest a QI initiative is an effective way to improve pain care practices in the LTC setting.