Nursing homes forced to address chronic pain management

In theory, pain management experts say, the best way to manage an episode is to anticipate and treat pain before it becomes too intense. Until recently, however, nursing homes haven't been particularly aggressive in this response, perhaps waiting for CMS to get tough on the subject.

Now, it appears that CMS has made its move. The agency has just released new pain management guidelines and investigative protocols that allow its investigators to cite nursing homes that aren't managing pain according to the rules.

The new CMS guidance requires nursing facilities to assess and address pain in all residents, including those with cognitive problems. The homes will be required to review how they assess and manage pain in residents, including the use of both standard pain meds those administered as needed.

Fortunately, administrators say, the new rules are a pretty strong fit with existing clinical practice for managing pain, so implementing the new guidelines probably won't be too much of a headache.

To learn more about the new pain guidelines:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece

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