Patient Care and Monitoring

1. Identify the source of pain.

2. Assess the level of pain using a pain intensity scale.

3. Base the initial choice of analgesic on the severity and type of pain, as well as on the patient's medical condition and concurrent medications.

4. Use the least potent oral analgesic that provides adequate pain relief and causes the fewest side effects.

5. Titrate the dose to one that achieves an adequate level of pain control.

6. Use a dosing schedule versus as-needed dosing.

7. Assess the patient for analgesic effectiveness and for side effects at each visit or more frequently, depending on the acuity of the patient's condition.

8. Avoid excessive sedation.

9. Adjust the route of administration if the patient is unable to take oral medications. 10. Use equianalgesic doses as a guide when switching opioids.

Abbreviations Introduced in This Chapter

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