Inside the program: Following national guidelines for pain management

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, November 3, 2009

When determining how to use the recommendations for pain management in different populations and with different diseases, it is helpful to understand the strength of the different recommendations. Often the terms "standard," "consensus statement," or "guideline" are used interchangeably, but there are significant differences. When deciding on an intervention for pain management, use the one that has the highest level of support.

1. Guidelines: Systematically developed statements using an analysis of current research that can help practitioners make patient care decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances. Recommendations for practice are made using an evidence rating scale from poor support to high level support for treatment options.

2. Standards: Criteria established by authority or general consent as a rule for the measure of quality, value, or extent. Standards can be used to provide accreditation and establish expectations for how pain should be managed in organizations.

3. Consensus statements or position papers: Expression of opinion or positions-usually prepared by societies, organizations, or academies-to reflect the findings of the society. The formulation of these documents includes expert opinion, available scientific evidence, and prevailing opinion.

Source: Adapted from Pain Management: Evidence-Based Tools and Techniques for Nursing Professionals

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