Life Before Death

by Pamela Katz Ressler, MS-PREP, RN, HN-BC, PREP-Aired blog moderator and administrator, Program in Pain Research, Education and Policy (PREP) at Tufts University School of Medicine

The global burden of pain is immense.  Pain is universal; including all constructs of ethnicity, nationality, culture, race, socioeconomic status, age and gender.  Although pain is ubiquitous, it is woefully under-treated globally.  The International Association of  the Study of Pain , along with other prominent pain organizations such as The Mayday Fund, the Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice, the Union for International Cancer Control, have joined with the Lien Foundation by co-sponsoring a series of 50 short documentary films, released for viewing each week beginning in May 2011, highlighting the international epidemic of the under-treatment of pain.  The project, Life Before Death, will culminate with the release of a feature film in late 2011, followed by a one-hour TV documentary. 

We welcome your comments on the overall Life Before Death project or the specific short films, which we will highlight on the Tufts University Pain Research, Education and Policy Program’s PREP-Aired blog each week.  Let’s start a dialog, that will be heard round the world, affirming the right of all people to have access to effective pain treatment.

Click here to watch the first short film of the Life Before Death project: Conspiracy of Silence

Add comment June 7th, 2011

Nurse Leads Effort in Pain Care Management Program for Emergency Department

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP candidate, PREP-AIRED moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

When Bat Masterson, RN, a former Navy nurse, was hired as the emergency department case manager at Kootenai Medical Center, a 246 bed acute care hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, he recognized that an effective, collaborative, multidisciplinary pain management plan was needed.  He saw that repetitive emergency department visits for pain issues were often the norm for patients without primary care health care providers and there was  limited follow-up for effective pain management for these patients.  Additionally, staff were often burdened by responding to drug-seeking or doctor-shopping individuals who visited the emergency department repeatedly to attempt to obtain narcotic prescriptions.  In 2006, Mr. Masterson and a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals developed the Pain Care Management Program that embraced a coordinated care model and electronic communication tools to monitor and support pain patients who visited the emergency department.  Four goals of emergency department pain care were identified by the team and served as guiding principles in the development of strategies and interventions of the Pain Care Management Program of Kootenai Medical Center.

  • Manage patients with chronic pain or pain related complaints through coordination of care with the patient’s primary physician and the Emergency Department.
  • Support the treatment goals of the primary physician without encumbering the Emergency Department.
  • Use non-narcotic pain relief, whenever possible, and as a standard of care for the treatment of headaches.
  • Provide the best care for the patient for the condition they have that day

The results of the Pain Care Management Program have been impressive:

  • A 77% reduction in emergency department visits for pain care management.
  • An increase from 42% to 89% of individuals in the pain care study with primary care providers
  • Improved patient and nursing satisfaction scores

Congratulations to Bat Masterson, RN and the emergency department pain care management team at Kootenai Medical Center for an innovative and collaborative model of pain care.

Click here to read a PainEDU.org interview with Mr. Masterson

Add comment May 16th, 2011

PREP Capstone Presentations on May 2

by Wendy Williams, BSN, M.Ed, Associate Director PREP Program, Tufts University School of Medicine

The PREP Community here at Tufts is pleased to announce our most recent capstone presentations.  Come to the Tufts Health Sciences Campus, 136 Harrison Ave,  Boston, M&V conference room 1, on Monday, May 2 at 3:30pm to both hear from two of our nurse graduates and to enjoy a reception following. 

Carol Krieger, RN, BSN, LicAc, MAOM: Development of a research proposal for the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment of central and neuropathic pain syndromes from polytrauma – spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and phantom limb pain

Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC: Communicating the Experience of Chronic Illness through Blogging

Please join us as we all learn on how the study of pain in this graduate program of ours is improving the world of pain… one student at a time!

PREP Capstones_May 2011 Presentations

Add comment April 25th, 2011

Wounded Warriors: Pain Management in the Military

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP candidate, PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine 

Please join the Pain Research Education and Policy Program’s (PREP) faculty, students and alumni for the 2011 Sackler Lecture on Thursday, April 21 at 4 PM in the Tufts Medical Center’s Wolff Auditorium.   The PREP program is honored to host  Dr. Rollin (Mac) Gallagher, MD, MPH  for this year’s lecture.  Dr. Gallagher, a prominent expert in the field of pain management, will address the complex pain issues confronting the military  in today’s wars and how the VA Health System is managing these from acute injury through rehabilitation.  His lecture is entitled: “The Veterans Administration Department of Defense Systems Redesign: Pain Management for Wounded Warriors from Injury to Recovery”. 

Dr. Gallagher currently serves as Director of Pain Management, Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center.  He is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Anesthesiology and Critical Care and Director for Pain Policy Research and Primary Care, Penn Pain Medicine Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  He is Editor-in-Chief of Pain Medicine, the official journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, that he has also served as president. He currently serves on the National Pain Management Strategy Coordinating Committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you cannot join us in person for Dr. Gallagher’s lecture, we will have a link to his recorded lecture posted here next week.

Add comment April 19th, 2011

The Pain Chronicles

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP candidate, PREP-AIRED moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

One in 10 people in the United States identifies themselves as having chronic pain.  Over $90 billion is spent annually in the United States on the associated costs of chronic pain, including disability, medical costs, and loss in productivity.  The global impact of chronic pain is immense. Yet treatment of chronic pain remains as elusive to our modern medical treatment methods as it did to the ancient Greeks.  In The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing and the Science of Suffering, author Melanie Thernstrom masterfully weaves her personal pain narrative into a rich tapestry of the science, history, culture and ethical underpinnings of the study of pain.  The PREP program’s director, Dr. Daniel Carr, lends a pivotal voice in Ms. Ternstrom’s understanding of the challenges of pain medicine, along with other pain medicine luminaries such as Dr. Scott Fishman and Dr. Clifford Woolf.  What makes The Pain Chronicles so compelling  are the multiple layers of inquiry that unfold throughout the book, often challenging the reader to ask more questions than find answers on the nature of pain and suffering.  Ms. Thernstrom’s use of the patient voice from the perspectives of authors such as Elaine Scarry (The Body in Pain) and Arthur Frank (At the Will of the Body) help to  illustrate the complex interaction between pain perception and suffering.   The Pain Chronicles allows a deeper understanding of  the disease of pain, and should be “required reading” for both patients and health practitioners for whom chronic pain plays a role in their lives.

The Tufts Pain Education and Policy Program, with assistance from the Tufts University Public Health and Professional Degree Student Activity Fund, is pleased to be hosting author Melanie Thernstrom on Tuesday, April 12 at 4:00 PM in the Wolff Auditorium at Tufts Medical Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  Signed copies of The Pain Chronicles will be available.  Please join us!

Here is a link to Melanie Thernstrom’s lecture on April 12: http://www.tufts.edu/med/education/phpd/msprep/prepforum.html

1 comment April 11th, 2011

Top 4 Reasons to Return to Tufts

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP candidate, PREP-AIRED moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

The Pain Research, Education and Policy Program(PREP) is the first and only multidisciplinary university-based pain curriculum program in the nation.  There are numerous reasons to become part of the PREP program: small class sizes, diverse student backgrounds, and expert faculty are a few of the unique qualities of the program.  What also sets the PREP program apart is the continued connection with PREP alumni, who are are welcomed and encouraged to remain an integral part of the PREP program.  

Here are 4 top reasons for PREP Alumni to return to Tufts:

#4 Meet world renowned speakers and authors:

Please join us to hear two prominent pain experts lecturing in April.  Melanie Thernstrom will be speaking about her acclaimed book, The Pain Chronicles on April 12, 2011 at 4pm in the Wolff Auditorium at Tufts Medical Center. 

Dr. Rollin (Mac) Gallagher of the University of Pennsylvania and the VA Administration will describe recent efforts to alleviate pain and suffering beginning in the battlefield and extending through rehabilitation.  He will be speaking in the Wolff Auditorium at Tufts Medical Center at 4pm.  The date of his lecture is April 21, 2011.

#3 Network with New Alumni 

Come and hear our graduating MS student capstone presentations on Monday, May 2 from 3:30pm to 5:00pm in Conference Room 1, M&V Building.   We would love your support and networking with our hard-working graduates. 

#2 Enroll in a Tufts course and save 75% 

Did you know that all alumni from the Public Health and Professional Degree programs are able to enroll in a maximum of three courses in PHPD (one per year) at a 75% savings???  Yes, you can take that elective that you always wanted to and spend only 25% on that course!  Contact Lauren Budd, Assistant Registrar at lauren.budd@tufts.edu  for more information.

#1 Expand your world by connecting with PREP’s social media sites

In addition to PREP-AIRED, the PREP program’s widely read blog, the PREP program now has its own Facebook page.  Join the community of current students, policy makers, leaders in the pain conversation and alumni by “liking” our page.  Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/PREP-Pain-Research-Education-and-Policy-Graduate-Program-Tufts/198047410219415

What are your top reasons for returning to Tufts?

Add comment April 6th, 2011

Chronic Pain: Focus of Time Magazine and Sackler Lecture

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student, PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

Chronic pain is elusive, often impossible to visualize or describe, and a continuing challenge for patients and health care providers alike.  The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 76.5 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, an all encompassing term which includes pain that persists for months or years, often with no visible evidence of underlying injury.  A recent Time Magazine Health Special featured an informative series of articles on the issue of chronic pain with new insights from the bench and the bedside, as well as patient stories reflecting on the challenges of living with pain. 

Leading voices in pain management are quoted extensively in the Times Magazine health special focusing on chronic pain, one of whom is Dr. Rollin M. Gallagher, editor of Pain Medicine and the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Past President.  The Tufts University Pain Research, Education and Policy Program is honored that Dr. Gallagher will be presenting the annual Sackler Lecture at Tufts Medical Center on April 21. Dr. Gallagher will be addressing the complex pain management issues of today’s combat veterans.  

For more information about the 2011 Sackler Lecture, please click here.

Add comment March 27th, 2011

Health Professionals Making a Difference in Pain Care

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

The American Pain Foundation has produced a number of helpful online videos for patients, families and health care professionals highlighting the complex nature of pain, especially chronic pain.  It is essential that pain care be a multidisciplinary process with the patient an active participant in care.  You may want to check out the American Pain Foundation’s selection of online videos on their YouTube site.  Take a look at “Health Professionals Making a Difference in Pain Care” to listen to  health professionals and pain patients share their message.

Add comment March 17th, 2011

Can Love Reduce Pain?

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator, Tufts University School of Medicine

In honor of Valentine’s Day and in celebration of “heart month”, February, today’s blog entry asks the question…can viewing a photograph of a romantic partner reduce pain?  This was the research question posed by investigators from Stanford University in a study entitled: Viewing Pictures of a Romantic Partner Reduces Experimental Pain published in PLoS  ONE.  Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the investigators examined fifteen individuals in the early stages of a romantic relationship (first nine months).  Participants completed three tasks under periods of moderate and high thermal pain: 1) viewing pictures of their romantic partner, 2) viewing pictures of an equally attractive and familiar acquaintance, and 3) a word-association distraction task previously demonstrated to reduce pain. Viewing pictures of a romantic partner and the distraction task both decreased the amount of self-reported pain experienced by the study participants.  However greater pain relief was reported while viewing pictures of a romantic partner and this was the only study condition associated with increased activity in several reward-processing regions of the brain.  According to the research team lead by Dr. Jarred Younger,  “The results suggest that the activation of neural reward systems via non-pharmacologic means can reduce the experience of pain”.   In the clinical setting, creating an environment that encouraging patients to have pictures of loved ones within view may help to achieve more effective pain management.  

What are your thoughts on this study?

1 comment February 14th, 2011

PREP Capstone Presentations

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog administrator and moderator

Congratulations to two MS-PREP candidates who recently presented their capstone projects to a group of faculty, alumni and students of the Tufts University School of Medicine’s Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs and the New England School of Acupuncture

Kai-Yin Hsu investigated the clinical use of the MYMOP form and outcome of acupuncture treatment from a U.S. traditional Chinese Medicine teaching clinic.

Pratchi Morajkar conducted a systematic review of Dexmedetomidine and its implications for non-narcotic-based analgosedation in cardiac surgery.

Prachi Morajkar, Dr. Libby Bradshaw, PREP academic director, Kai-Yin Hsu

Both presentations reflect the diverse interests and broad scope of the Tufts University Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs.

Kai-Yin Hsu presenting her PREP capstone project

2 comments January 13th, 2011

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