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Inpatient Pain Management
 
 
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Our Inpatient Pain management program provides innovative and specialized pain management for hospitalized patients with painful conditions. Medical professionals with specialized training, including physicians, clinical pharmacists, surgical technologists and registered nurses board certified in pain management are available to assist with pain control.

A variety of methods are used to assist with a wide range of painful conditions experienced by hospitalized patients including those with pain after surgery, a traumatic injury, pain caused by illness or chronic pain conditions.

Our goal is to identify and treat the patient’s pain to keep it well controlled and make the patient comfortable to assist in the healing process.

Treatment Methods

  • Multimodal therapy is using more than one method at a time to control pain by attacking the pain at different levels in the pain pathway from the site of pain or injury to the brain. This allows a decrease in the amount of pain medications needed to control the pain. Decreased doses can decrease the unwanted side effects of many of the pain medications such as dizziness, sleepiness, nausea and constipation.
  • IV medicine and pain pills may be used alone or together with two procedures performed by anesthesiologist with specialized training; Peripheral Nerve Blocks and Epidural anesthesia. These procedures are used to control pain after surgery or injury.
  • Peripheral nerve blocks are done by the specially trained anesthesiologist. After identifying the correct site of the nerve to be blocked, they will inject a numbing medication to bathe the nerves that control the area to of pain to cause it to become numb. This is not done directly to the spinal area but off to the surgical side of the spinal column.
    • This is commonly used for knee and hip replacement surgery, shoulder surgery, extremity amputation and breast surgery.
    • The medication and procedure is much like the dentist using Novocaine before a dental procedure.
    • A small catheter or tube is placed in the area near the nerve that controls the area of pain. A portable pump is used to deliver the numbing medication to that area. The patient carries the medication and pump in a fanny pack and it can be used for several days after surgery.
    • Selected patients may go home with the peripheral nerve block in place and be monitored by the Home Health Nurse.
  • Epidural anesthesia is used to relieve pain after surgery to the chest or abdomen as well as injuries to the chest such as fractured ribs. The anesthesiologist places a small catheter or tube into the back in the space just outside the spinal cord and it may remain in place for 3-5 days. 
    • Numbing medication and pain medication may both be delivered in the epidural infusion connected to the catheter placed by the anesthesiologist.
    • The placement depends on the on the area of the body that needs to be numb for pain relief.
    • Patients are able to be up and walk with the epidural in place helping to speed recovery.

The Clinical Pharmacists have a doctorate degree - PhD in pharmacy and specialty training and certification in pain management. The attending physician may consult the Clinical pharmacist. They evaluate the patient’s pain and current medications and create an individualized plan of care for pain control and monitor the patient throughout their hospital stay.

Upon discharge from the hospital patients may be referred by their physician to follow up at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute at Conemaugh East Hills for further outpatient pain management.