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J Intraven Nurs. 2001 Mar-Apr;24(2):85-94.

Pain as the fifth vital sign.

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Oncology Pain and Symptom Management Service, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Patients who do not report pain and healthcare providers who fail to assess for pain are major barriers to the relief of pain. Using pain as the fifth vital sign and being knowledgeable about pain assessment and management can help nurses and other healthcare providers overcome many of the barriers to successful pain control. A successful pain control plan includes establishing the pain diagnosis, treating the cause of the pain when possible, optimizing analgesic use, implementing nonpharmacological interventions to maximize physical and psychological comfort and function, and referring the patient for invasive pain management options when indicated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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