Comment

What a pain

How can we get pain management right for the patient?

Recently a summit in the West Midlands, held by the Police and Crime Commissioner, proposed that heroin be given on the NHS, free to drug users in safe, nurse- and doctor-supported 'fix' rooms.

At the same time, strong opiates are being taken away from pain patients who are being told to cope with their pain, accept it and live with it, despite the chaos it makes in their lives as its 'only pain'.

Those who have chronic pain are vulnerable, with their pain causing problems leading to increased chronic illness and shorter lifespans. Only they themselves can truly understand the impact of pain on their lives.

Chronic pain when left untreated (or undertreated) destroys the mind, body and soul.

We community nurses see the affects of chronic pain daily: people who cannot self-care or even leave their homes because movement is

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Recently a summit in the West Midlands, held by the Police and Crime Commissioner, proposed that heroin be given on the NHS, free to drug users in safe, nurse- and doctor-supported 'fix' rooms.


Picture: iStock

At the same time, strong opiates are being taken away from pain patients who are being told to cope with their pain, accept it and live with it, despite the chaos it makes in their lives as it’s 'only pain'.

Those who have chronic pain are vulnerable, with their pain causing problems leading to increased chronic illness and shorter lifespans. Only they themselves can truly understand the impact of pain on their lives.

Chronic pain when left untreated (or undertreated) destroys the mind, body and soul.

We community nurses see the affects of chronic pain daily: people who cannot self-care or even leave their homes because movement is unbearable. People with bedsores that will never heal, leg ulcers, severe arthritis and conditions like multiple sclerosis that take away their strength. Most of these people contributed to society all their lives and now trust us to care for them. Can we care, without the use of opiates?

Reasonability

If they think they can sort out the drug problems misusers have, that works for me. But, it is insane that potentially the only way some pain patients may be able to get strong opiates is by becoming addicted to heroin. I know, I know… our patients are unlikely to do this. But what will they do instead, just suffer? That’s not a reasonable option, is it?

We who see the suffering need to speak up for those in pain. If we don’t, who will speak for us when it’s our turn to need help? Please write to your MP and defend pain management.


About the author

Bethann Siviter in an independent nursing consultant

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