Position Statement on Pain Treatment as a Human Right
As a chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Canadian Pain Society supports the treatment of pain as a basic human right.
Almost all acute and cancer pain can be relieved, and most patients with chronic non-cancer pain can be helped. People have a right to access the best care possible for pain whether this be acute pain, pain caused by cancer, or chronic non-cancer pain. Evidence supports that chronic pain is not just a symptom of underlying illness or injury, but it is a disease in its own right, with significant changes in complex biological, and psychosocial functions.
- Routine assessment is essential for effective management. Pain is a subjective experience involving multiple characteristics including biological and psychosocial factors, all of which must be considered for comprehensive assessment and management.
- Unrelieved acute pain complicates recovery. Unrelieved pain after surgery or injury results in more complications, longer hospital stays, greater disability, and potentially long-term pain.
- Patients’ self-report of pain should be used whenever possible. For patients unable to report pain, a non-verbal assessment method must be used.
- Health professionals have a responsibility to assess pain routinely, to accept patients’ pain reports, to document them, and to intervene in order to manage pain.
- The best approach to pain management involves patients, families, and health professionals. Patients and families must be informed that they have a right to the best pain care possible and encouraged to communicate the severity of their pain.
Approved by the Board of Directors Canadian Pain Society June 4, 2010