Encountering Barriers on the Road to Pain Management

<b>Encountering Barriers on the Road to Pain Management</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Pain is the top reason people seek medical care in the U.S. Despite all we now know about pain, many people continue to suffer needlessly. That’s because there can be “road blocks” to effective treatment. These can come from a variety of sources – including healthcare professionals and even patients themselves.

While controlling pain hasn’t always been a medical priority, the healthcare industry has made great strides in recent years to address this – including the establishment of pain as the “the fifth vital sign.” Nevertheless, people seeking treatment may still encounter healthcare professionals who do not take pain seriously, or who do not understand how to provide proper pain management. This can result in inadequate treatment.

“It’s important that people with pain find a healthcare professional who understands their needs and is willing to work together to determine what treatment option works best,” says Penney Cowan, founder of the American Chronic Pain Association. “With the right care and direction, you can live a full life.”

One of the most challenging barriers to adequate pain relief also can come from the people with pain themselves. Some may resist taking pain relievers because of fears of side effects associated with strong prescription medications – it is important to discuss these concerns with a physician. Attitudes toward pain and suffering also may play a role. For instance, some people believe that “good patients” don’t complain, or that pain is inevitable.

Individuals should remember that pain should not be brushed aside or ignored. Here are some steps people with pain can follow to overcome barriers to effective pain management:

* Don’t suffer in silence: report your pain to your healthcare professional.

* Stay involved in your pain management plan: it may take a few adjustments before you are comfortable with your treatment.

* Educate yourself: you will better understand your pain and what can be done to relieve it.

* Learn how to better communicate with your healthcare professional: this may mean keeping a pain diary to illustrate the details of your pain – where it hurts, pain intensity, and what time of day it is worst.

* Don’t settle for inadequate treatment: if your health care provider isn’t successfully treating your pain, ask to be referred to a medical professional who can.

One of the resources available to those living with pain is www.partnersagainstpain.com. The site contains a wide array of information on various pain conditions, resources such as pain assessment and measurement tools, and links to pain education and advocacy groups. Partners Against Pain is a national education program provided by Purdue Pharma L.P.

Healthcare Execs Favor Reform Initiatives

<b>Healthcare Execs Favor Reform Initiatives</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Hospitals, group practices, nursing facilities, medical device makers and other healthcare companies agree — by a near two-to-one margin, they favor President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform initiatives.

The President hopes to ensure near-universal health coverage, improve quality, lower costs, support technological development and research, and improve preventative care. And most middle-market healthcare companies — those with annual revenues of $25 million to $1 billion — believe that Obama’s plan will be good for business.

According to the research report “U.S. Middle Market Outlook 2009: Resiliency in the Healthcare Sector,” 56 percent of respondents call for reform in general. Released by Forbes Insights and CIT, a leading provider of financing to small businesses and middle market companies, which surveyed more than 100 healthcare executives, the study noted that the executives also supported some of the specifics outlined in Obama’s plan.

Eighty percent of hospital and medical center executives think that the plan’s push for electronic health records would help their businesses while also reducing errors and ensuring privacy. A greater focus on preventative care, like routine screenings and better nutrition, will give healthcare companies regular business.

On the other hand, only 28 percent of executives want to see Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements changed.

Still, the healthcare industry remains positive about its prospects, even in the economic recession.

“Middle market healthcare executives are optimistic about the positive impact that the Obama administration’s plans for healthcare reform will have on their businesses,” said Margaret Au Brown, president and co-head of CIT Healthcare. “While other industries have decreased borrowing activity, we see our middle market healthcare clients continuing to borrow at a steady pace as they prepare for the costs associated with these healthcare reform initiatives.”

The healthcare industry has several reasons to feel hopeful. Unlike many other industries, people cannot opt out of healthcare when they need medical service. Also, the current workforce may allow companies to recruit new talent — healthcare companies are still hiring, with 43 percent planning to expand their workforce in 2009.

For a complimentary copy of “U.S. Middle Market Outlook 2009: Resiliency in the Healthcare Sector,” visit http://middlemarket.cit.com.

Home Is Where the Healthcare Is

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Home is where the heart is. Increasingly, the home is also where the healthcare is.

For various reasons, older people prefer to receive medical care at home, whether it be in their own home or their children’s home. Census data show a 67 percent jump between 2000 and 2007 in the number of parents who have moved in with their adult children.

More than 8 million seniors and people with disabilities enjoy the benefits of medical care at home. Services and equipment that enable people to receive care at home include oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, hospital beds and diabetic supplies. Congress and the White House will consider the value of homecare for patients and taxpayers as they explore avenues for healthcare reform.

Reforming healthcare, especially Medicare, is a top issue in Washington, D.C. Medicare provides health insurance to approximately 43 million Americans aged 65 and older, and to people with permanent disabilities. The spending of Medicare is projected to grow annually by 7.5 percent over the next decade. Medicare trustees project that Medicare’s Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2019.

While total Medicare spending skyrockets, the portion devoted to home medical care and equipment remains less than 2 percent. At the same time, homecare holds down costs better than other healthcare segments. Two years of home oxygen therapy costs less than the average Medicare cost for a single day in the hospital, which is more than $5,500.

Providing care to seniors in their homes requires services. Homecare providers serve clients after hours and over weekends to ensure that their patients stay safe – and out of emergency rooms. Also, homecare providers help vulnerable seniors during emergencies such as ice storms and hurricanes.

As the President and Congress work toward solutions regarding the uninsured and the rising costs of care, the role of home medical care and equipment is likely to be considered as one of the key solutions that will help sustain Medicare and Medicaid.

Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, notes, “Homecare will continue to be safe and cost-effective only as long as policy-makers in Washington remember that homecare requires a human touch, including services and personal attention.”

For more information on homecare and its services, visit www.aahomecare.org/athome.