Physio urges prescribers of all disciplines to improve pain assessments

A physiotherapist has called for the use of better pain assessment models among non-medical prescribers of pain medication.

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Paul Cameron, national lead clinician for chronic pain in Scotland

CSP member Paul Cameron, national lead clinician for chronic pain in Scotland, was speaking at a national conference on non-medical prescribing for pain, held in London on 10 February.

The event, attended by nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists, aimed to provide updated information for current and aspiring non-medical prescribers who prescribe for pain.

Dr Cameron told delegates it was essential for non-medical prescribers to maintain their competence and skills so they could prescribe for pain in an effective way.

To help achieve this he outlined the pros and cons of a variety of pain assessment models, including the World Health Organization’s three-step ‘pain ladder’, which is commonly used as a framework for providing symptomatic pain relief.

‘A detailed and comprehensive pain assessment, that appreciates the unique patterns of pain types, can lead to improved medication rationalisation, which will ultimately improve a patient’s treatment and their outcomes,’ he said.

Delegates heard that the advantages of adopting an alternative and improved model of pain assessment could also include

  • improved decision making about the best pain analgesic and adjuvant medication to use
  • earlier recognition of when an analgesic is not correct or optimal
  • an improved awareness of the placing of medication in the overall treatment pathway

The conference highlighted that pain is a growing area of non-medical prescribing, as indicated by a 2010 survey of members of the Association for Prescribers. The results found that 50 per cent of members prescribed for pain.

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by Robert Millett

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