The Acute Care of Chronic Pain Study: Perceptions of Acute Care Providers on Chronic Pain, a Social Media-based Investigation
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Introduction The diagnosis of chronic pain involves symptoms of pain of various etiologies lasting longer than six months. The prevalence of chronic pain in society ranges from 19% to 31% in North America. While chronic pain patient perceptions on the care provided to them in the Emergency Department (ED) have been studied, there has not been significant attention given to the attitudes of acute care providers towards these patients. Methods We utilized online questionnaires disseminated on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and emergency medicine blogs to gauge care provider attitudes of chronic pain patients. Survey respondents included ED physicians and their trainees, ED nurses and nurse practitioners, paramedics, and physician assistants. Results Responses revealed numerous factors impacting care provider dissatisfaction with treating chronic pain in the ED; significant factors included the lack of longitudinal care and inappropriate medication of chronic pain resulting in dependency. We found that additional chronic pain-specific training was associated with increased care provider confidence in the treatment of chronic pain. Practice patterns were found to be varied, with half of the respondents stating that chronic pain should be medicated acutely. Conclusions We conclude that acute care provider dissatisfaction with chronic pain treatment is multifactorial in origin and that confidence in the acute treatment of chronic pain can be improved with chronic pain-specific training.