ATTENTION! Due to the volume of messages I receive regarding interruption or withdrawal of medical care, particularly regarding access to opioid medications, I ask that you READ THE GUIDELINES for PAIN WARRIORS. It will take a village of individuals with first hand information, personal physical evidence to bring effective action. As a volunteer advocate, and with my fingers on the pulse of the community, I understand the crisis those of us living with chronic pain face. After you follow the recommendations, I look forward to hearing from you.
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This “Sample Advocacy Letter” is a template for you to use. Depending upon your concerns, you can use it to contact elected representatives, government agencies, health commissioners, insurance ... Read On >>
Approximately 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. Advocates are coming together to address the needs of our society and the needs of those who struggle in pain. The Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy... Read On >>
“Self advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. Whether you are a person with pain, a caregiver, or someone who advocates on the behalf of others, self advocacy is an essential skill to learn and embrace.” ~ In The Face of Pain. Read on >>
We must make an effort to improve pain care, and that includes all of us, including patients. As patients, we have a major stake in this effort. I encourage you to read my blog on a symposium, Patients and Teachers, Clinicians as Learners sponsored by the Center for Practical Bioethics who also sponsors the PAINS initiative.
Take a Stand by Celeste Cooper
Swirling ideas, each significant to plan.
Upholding brave principles and taking a stand.
Provisions of nature and all living things
Gives fortitude, fulfillment of what life can bring.
Taste the climb; take pause, ageless, forever;
Ours for the taking–precious gift to endeavor.
Inherited by forefathers, a guide for our path,
Achievement secured when we learn from the past.
So stand up we shall, securing our position.
When acted on, they are more than conditions.
Comrades, principles, nature, history, at hand
Are the tools that endure when taking a stand.
Is it any wonder we feel as though our hands and feet have been shackled and we have been thrown out to sea as shark food? What kind of society criminalizes all patients and physicians because of the unethical and/or abusive behavior of a few? And what about people who use opioids for other than what they are intended? Where can they go for the help they need? Our mental health system is difficult to access and once it is, treatment is based on ability to pay.
As an activist, registered nurse, and patient, I have concerns. Rising healthcare costs affect us individually and as a society. We are not in a position to waste healthcare dollars, whether it is costs to health care systems, government organizations for research and treatment, or individual costs for treatments and medications. We are forced to work within a system devoid of a plan for addressing the physical, physiological, and social aspects associated with chronic pain.
Whether you seek traditional, alternative, or integrative pain management, your provider should always focus on one thing, improving your outcome. Emphasis should be on patient and physician education, awareness, and ethical preservation of the patient’s right to choose. These goals are moral obligations.
Inadequately treated pain of any kind has two potential consequences: an epidemic of suicide, or an upsurge in underground activity. (You might be interested in reading my blog "Walk a Mile in my Shoes"). Removing medications proven safe when used appropriately and not reimbursing for helpful therapies validated by research, throws the patient into a vast abyss (See Fighting for the Right of Choice).