MINDFULNESS & PAIN MANAGEMENT

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which accredits and certifies healthcare organizations based on quality measures has recently re-examined its pain management standards. Effective on January 1, 2018, JCAHO implemented a revised pain assessment standard which requires that hospitals provide non-pharmacologic options to help patients manage their pain. What does this mean as a health care provider? Now more than ever, alternate modalities to manage pain are being introduced into the healthcare world.

 

Since Jon Kabat-Zinn’s introduction of meditation and yoga in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts, there has been an abundance of hard data supporting the positive effects of mindfulness on overall well-being. Kabat-Zinn discovered mindfulness can alter the pain experience itself, and/or alter our relationship to the experience. In other words, our mental reaction can either feed the pain or ease it.

 

Approximately 90 Americans die every day from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers. With this ever increasing opioid crisis, finding alternative ways to reduce pain is increasingly important. Studies such as the University of Utah’s Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health show promising results that mindfulness can help patients reduce their painkiller intake and lessen the experience of pain.

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