[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 8, 2000

Assessment and Management of Pain—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(18):2317-2318. doi:10.1001/jama.284.18.2317

In Reply:Listen to the patient. This simple edict is at the heart of the new evidence-based pain management standards introduced by the JCAHO. Pain is one of the most common reasons that patients seek medical care, yet it is often inadequately treated. Untreated, the pain accompanying illnesses slows recovery, adds significant financial burdens to the health care system, and severely impairs an individual's quality of life.

The JCAHO standards assert that individuals seeking care at accredited hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, outpatient clinics, behavioral health facilities, and health care networks have the right to appropriate assessment and management of pain. The standards require that all patients be screened for the presence of pain. For those who report pain, a complete assessment must be conducted to characterize a patient's pain by location, intensity, and cause. This should include a detailed history and physical examination, psychosocial assessment, and diagnostic evaluation.