Paulson MR, Dekker AH, Aguilar-Gaxiola S. Eliminating Disparities in Pain Management. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2007;107(suppl_5):ES17–ES20. doi: .
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Not all patients are treated equally for their pain with some therefore being undertreated. Discrepancies still exist in the way physicians treat special populations of patients such as racial minorities, women, and substance abusers. All healthcare providers need to be aware of the not so readily apparent disparities resulting from stereotyping, bias, ageism, and socioeconomic considerations. Physicians can best provide appropriate and equal care by following pain management guidelines; however, they may receive contradictory information and be apprehensive about prescribing opioids, especially to substance abusers. In this “refreshed” article, the authors describe patient encounters with patients of color and offer some goals for removing inequality and inequity from clinical settings.
Vital signs are taken seriously. If pain were assessed with the same zeal as other vital signs are, it would have a much better chance of being treated properly. We need to train doctors and nurses to treat pain as a vital sign. Quality care means that pain is measured and treated.
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