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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.

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