3. Prognosis & Consent
Just like any procedure that has significant risks to the patient, it is ethical to discuss the risks and benefits of opioid analgesic therapy. Patients’ ideas of the benefits and risks of this therapy may be unrealistic or uninformed. Letting the patient know how these medications fit into the comprehensive management (not cure!) of their pain is important to clear up any misconceptions they might have. It may even be helpful to ask them what they think that the benefits and risks of treatment are. Specific issues of addiction, physical dependence, and tolerance should be explored in plain language and presented in a way that the patient can easily understand.
Client Case: Mr. Hawkins
After re-addressing your shared goals for the management of Mr, Hawkins’ chronic back pain, you both agree that a trial of prn opioid pain medication is reasonable.