Staff roles and responsibilities for pain management
The following staff roles and responsibilities for pain management in companion animal practice create a general context for the implementation of a more specific pain management protocol (see the "Model Pain Management Protocol").
- Assess pain in every patient, regardless of appointment type (wellness, acute care, follow-up).
- Develop pain management and prevention SOPs on:
- Weight optimization
- Prevention of dental disease
- In-clinic handling and hospitalization procedures to avoid pain and fear
- The PLATTER (PLan, Anticipate, TreaT, Evaluate, Return)
- Implement the practice’s pain management protocol (see the model protocol).
- Provide staff education on:
- Effective client communication and education
- Recognition and assessment of pain
- Drug mode of action, interactions, and prevention and recognition of adverse reactions
Technician and other patient-care personnel
- Obtain patient’s medical and complete medication history (include nutritional supplements).
- Anticipate painful clinical procedures.
- Apply proper patient handling and stress-relieving techniques.
- Recognize signs of pain and and alert veterinarian.
- Administer medications and other treatments as directed by veterinarian.
- Recognize potential adverse reactions from treatment, and alert veterinarian if noted.
- Update patient records.
- Assess postoperative patients, and record pain scores.
- Assess chronic pain patients, and record pain scores.
- Maintain effective client education and follow-up.
- Provide client education consisting of verbal and written instructions for pain management, including prevention and recognition of potential adverse drug reactions.
- Interface between pet owner and veterinarian regarding ongoing patient care.
- Contact client following exam to respond to questions and concerns.
Reception and other client-service personnel
- Be able to recognize patient indicators of pain at presentation to the hospital.
- Schedule follow-up appointment.
- Refer questions to medical staff as appropriate.
- Remind clients that they are part of a team-based approach to pain management, which requires their understanding, compliance, and feedback.