Total pain is physical pain, complicated and exacerbated by fear. It is a situation of great suffering and anguish for the patient and for everyone around the patient. It is a palliative care emergency.
It is a crisis at every level:
- Physical - uncontrolled pain
- Emotional - anxiety, sadness, anger, fear
- Social - sever carer strain, loss of confidence, fear, distress
- Spiritual - anguish, suffering, hopelessness, meaningless
It requires intervention at every level and the skill and experience of a multi-professional team. Unless the emotional and spiritual aspects are addressed, physical pain control can be impossible.
Get help early
Use the MDT
Use specialist resources/consider admission to a specialist bed.
Support each other - total pain is stressful for the whole team to manage.
It is an emergency, but rarely a 'quick-fix'.
© Dr. Eileen Palmer, Dr John Howarth Palliative Care for the Primary Health Care Team (2004) Quay Books ISBN 1856422291