All in the Family: Their Role and Impact on Pain Management
About 43% of households have at least 1 person with chronic pain, and that pain affects all members of the family, plus caregivers and/or significant others. It can demoralize and depress both patient and family, especially when there is no effective pain control and no hope for relief. Family can have a role in maintaining the pain, and should be included in pain assessment and treatment of pain. Family members must not only recognize and overcome obstacles that may occur when communicating with chronic pain patients, but also must deal with their own pain and stress. Addressing emotions with support groups, family therapy, or individual therapy can strengthen the family and the individual, as well as reduce the suffering of all involved. It is important for frontline practitioners to consider not only the person who is suffering in front of them, but the people behind the patient.
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