Interesting article from Berlin in the Wall Street Journal:
“German hospitals, dogged by a cultural grin-and-bear-it attitude toward pain, are starting to change.
About 120 hospitals in the country now carry “pain-free” certifications—essentially a pledge to keep patients’ pain at bearable levels. Meanwhile, 170 German hospitals are participating in a multinational registry known as Pain Out to swap information on patients’ satisfaction with their pain control, in effect drawing a map of pain management in the country and highlighting particularly effective approaches.
New research is helping to change attitudes. There is a growing appreciation that poor pain control in the days following surgery can prolong hospital stays or cause acute pain to become chronic. German doctors also are responding to studies showing that small operations can generate intense pain. And hospitals are feeling pressure to compete for a younger crop of patients expecting better pain control.“
It’s been a long (long) time since I studied and worked as an in-patient physiotherapist in Australian hospitals, but I recall Patient Controlled Anaesthesia being widely used after a majority of surgical procedures requiring a stay, with the theory that effective control of acute pain could help prevent chronic pain (nobody explained why or how, but I don’t think many people really knew back then).
It would be interesting to know if the German example is an outlier – calling international readers!
A little gem to finish off the article:
“At Bethel Hospital, doctors say improving how they treat pain helped the hospital attract a larger share of Germany’s growing demand for hip and knee replacements. The small hospital in a neighborhood of former West Berlin tripled its volume of orthopedic surgeries over the past six years, said Dr. Rüdiger Haase, the chief orthopedic surgeon. Bethel, which obtained an acute-pain-management certification in 2006, introduced local anesthetic techniques following surgery and instituted protocols to require staff to routinely assess pain. As a result, patients stabilized and regained their mobility faster, Dr. Haase said.”
…tripled its volume…
If I had to have a TKR or THR in Germany, I think I’d be looking for a hospital where staff asked me about pain and offered analgesia too.
A “No Pain” approach is a great start, wouldn’t it be great to see hospitals adopt a “Know Pain” attitude as well!
– Tim Cocks