I speak for over 100 million Americans with untreated or undertreated pain.(1) Most of us have been psychologically bruised from having a chronic pain or invisible illness. Usually we assume this is by family member, co-worker or friend, but when it is our healthcare provider it takes on new meaning.
Is your healthcare provider treating you with respect?
- We need and deserve a caring approach from our healthcare providers (HCPs).
- Many HCPs are ignorant to their role in helping us maintain a healthy attitude. I wonder if their inability is because a healthy attitude is missing in their own lives.
- Our HCPs should not translate their own judgments on the vulnerable. Please remember, it is THEIR STUFF (From Broken Body, Wounded Spirit, Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain, Fall Devotions)
- Our personal goals are not different than theirs, we want to live a productive life, care for our loved ones, interact with those we care about, and have the financial resources to keep a roof over our heads, food in the cupboard, and care for our daily needs, including healthcare to treat a chronic condition. Why does having pain or invisible illness separate us?
- We do not make up our symptoms; pain creates financial hardship, and threatens our self worth, relationship with others, and our purpose.
"If you talk to women, they tell you no one is listening, they tell them they are faking," committee chair Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, the dean of pediatrics, microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told ABC News. "One of the conclusions of the [Institute of Medicine, IOM] report is that chronic pain is not in your head. It's a disease in its own right." (2)
- Is your HCP up to date on the research? Ask them about their most recent continuing education course, when it was, and what it was about?
- Have your HCP provide you with your states patient rights. If they are not aware, make them aware.
From “Relieving pain in American IOM report, 2012:
“Unequal Treatment cites three types of provider factors that might help account for such disparities in care: “bias (or prejudice) against minorities; greater clinical uncertainty when interacting with racial and ethnic minority patients; and beliefs (or stereotypes) held by the provider about the behavior or health of minorities” (IOM, 2003, p. 9). (It should be noted that a number of the patterns of undertreatment cited above also occur among women and the elderly, both discussed below.) When people perceive discrimination in their lives, that perception in and of itself is associated with greater pain according to a survey of olderAfrican American men (Burgess et al., 2009).” (4)
Burgess, D. J., J. Grill, S. Noorbaloochi, J. M. Griffin, J. Ricards, M. Van Ryn, and M. R. Partin. 2009. The effect of perceived racial discrimination on bodily pain among older African American men. Pain Medicine 10(8):1341-1352.
(1) According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 116 MILLION Americans suffer from undertreated pain. TIME Health and Family, Report: Chronic, Undertreated Pain Affects 116 Million Americans. By Maia Szalavitz [Statistics Revised]
(2) Huffington Post. One-Third Of Americans Experience Chronic Pain
(3) IOM. 2009. Integrative medicine and the health of the public. A summary of the February 2009 Summit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
(4) Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. RELIEVING PAIN IN AMERICA, 2012. Pg 69-70