Long-Term Care

Nursing responsibilities for managing pain

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, October 9, 2008

The goal of pain management is to eliminate the cause of pain, provide analgesia, or both. Avoid assuming that because a resident cannot express or respond to pain that it does not exist. Manage pain by eliminating or controlling the source. Provide analgesia as needed and appropriate.

Nursing responsibilities for assessing, managing, and evaluating effectiveness of pain management include the following:

  • Determining the nature of the pain and its impact on the resident
  • Identifying factors that affect the resident’s perception and expression of pain
  • Determining when to administer analgesics
  • Deciding which analgesic to administer, if more than one is ordered
  • Determining the dose of the analgesic medication to administer, if a range is prescribed
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the analgesic
  • Assessing for and managing side effects of the medication
  • Determining why the analgesic was ineffective, if applicable
  • Determining the need to change the dose, timing, or medication and reporting this information to the healthcare provider
  • Using nursing interventions to promote comfort and relieve pain
  • Making sure the plan of care describes pain assessment and management
  • Documenting pain assessment and intervention noted herein to reflect use of the nursing process

This excerpt is from HCPro’s book, Clinical Documentation: An Essential Guide for Long-Term Care Nurses, written by Barbara Acello, RN, BSN.


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