An integrative approach to pain management
By Doreen Hart, RN, HN-BC
The Montana Center for Wellness & Pain Management serves patients with chronic pain and addiction.
Right now, two of the biggest health concerns in this country are chronic pain and opioid addiction. Chronic pain affects 100 million Americans each year, while the next two most common concerns, diabetes and cancer, affect 25.8 million and 11.9 million per year, respectively. The opioid crisis is rapidly growing in the United States, as the number of deaths only increase each year.
When utilizing the traditional approach to pain management, patients were not engaged and not progressing in their care. They were often stuck in a cycle of pain, depression, and then possible medication reliance, despite directives from providers. To try and break this cycle, we developed the EMPOWER program at The Montana Center.
The program is a patient-centered care model which encourages patients to become active agents in their own care. With EMPOWER, patients create personally relevant goals. Patients meet with a psychologist and patient navigator, and together, create attainable and measurable goals to address life with chronic pain. Active patient-provider partnerships help integrate medical, alternative and counseling therapies throughout the program. Combined with the elements of ongoing education and group support, EMPOWER is dedicated to each patient’s personal commitment to change.
The continuum of care is a vital part of the program. Through provider follow up, check in calls and patient education classes and groups, our staff is committed to helping patients reach their goals. Program participants also receive an EMPOWER workbook to bring to each appointment as a major tool in their forward movement of care.
From May 1 to October 21, 2017, 26 percent of new patients have initiated the EMPOWER program, and eight percent of established patients have initiated the EMPOWER program. Our goal is to establish 100 percent of new patients and more than 50 percent of established patients in the EMPOWER program.
To reach our goal, we have included our addiction patients to initially participate in the EMPOWER program, and then adapt the process to support these patients in their recovery to autonomy and self-reliance.
Our next step is gathering data and formally documenting all that we have discovered throughout this journey.