Launch of the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative in three cancer centers in India with Pallium India

December 2012 by Treat the Pain's Director, Dr. Meg O'Brien

IndiaPFHIIn November, I joined our colleagues at Pallium India to launch the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative in three cancer hospitals in India. The Pain-Free Hospital Initiative is a one-year quality improvement project to improve hospital-based pain treatment. At the end of the year, all patients will be routinely asked about their pain and reported pain will be promptly and appropriately treated.

Together with Dr. Rajagopal and Dr. Charu Singh of Pallium India, we met with the directors and clinical staff of the first three participating cancer hospitals in India: Malabar Cancer Centre in Thalaserry, Cacher Cancer Hospital in Silchar, and the Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in Kolkata

Together, we mapped out detailed plans for integrating pain assessment and treatment more fully into patient care. The initiative will have four key activities:

  • Motivating staff to assess and treat pain by implementing awareness campaigns in the hospital and routinely using our “slap” pain scale wristbands to assess pain levels in patients and document them along with other routine vitals

  • Equipping staff to better treat pain by conducting short and regular trainings for staff on clinical pain management according to the World Health Organization guidelines

  • Periodically measuring pain scores among inpatients and administering knowledge and attitude surveys among physicians and nurses to document impact

  • Communication of activities and impacts of the initiative with local medical authorities and policymakers

Together with the hospital leaders, we introduced the project to staff, brainstormed how we’ll implement the project, and introduced the new wristband pain scales. We also piloted the measurement tools, measuring pain levels among inpatients and knowledge and attitudes about pain treatment among clinical staff. We’ll all be meeting up again at Pallium India in January to develop standard training curricula and plans and finalize the implementation plans.