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Coming to Consensus: Defining Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management

Posted By Katie Duensing, Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What is comprehensive integrative pain management?

For years, there has been a growing consensus by a wide variety of stakeholder groups that optimal pain care is patient-centered and brings together all evidence-informed therapeutic approaches to reduce pain and achieve optimal health and healing, the health care team working in a coordinated, team-based approach on behalf of the patient. However, until the inaugural Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress, there was never a definition that varied stakeholders agreed upon to that explain precisely what this care is and what it should be called.

To best empower our collective to advocate for policies that will help all of those people whom Policy Congress attendees represent, we first needed to define what, exactly, we were advocating for by addressing the lack of a consensus definition for optimal pain management: achieving a definition was the first priority for the inaugural meeting.

Using information gleaned from pre-Congress surveys, followed up by in-person discussions and many revisions, approximately 70 leaders from 50+ participating organizations agreed on a consensus definition for “comprehensive integrative pain management”. 

Comprehensive integrative pain management includes biomedical, psychosocial, complementary health, and spiritual care. It is person-centered and focuses on maximizing function and wellness.  Care plans are developed through a shared decision-making model that reflects the available evidence regarding optimal clinical practice and the person’s goals and values.

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