Pain is one of the most common, distressing and feared symptom among cancer and other patients in need of palliative care. An estimated 25% of cancer patients and 25 million people die in pain each year. Effective pain and symptom management are the core elements of palliative care which aims at reducing suffering and improving quality of life (QOL) throughout the course of illness starting from diagnosis, in sync with curative treatments and at end of life. There is a prevailing shortage of manpower apt to deal with pain and providing cost-effective palliative care and with the rise of cancer, other chronic diseases and explosion of new life-prolonging therapeutic modalities, this ‘Patient-pain and palliative physician’ discrepancy is only going to increase, more so in developing countries. The need of the hour is to train all healthcare physicians and nurses especially those working in the field of chronic pain in principles of effective pain and symptom palliation, to integrate cancer pain and symptom management into existing pain management fellowships and to introduce a holistic pain and palliative care model at all levels of healthcare system. Simultaneously, of equal importance is to conduct research, evidence building and formulate policies and guidelines for meticulous symptom management among the diverse category of patients and diseases so as to have a personalized and individualistic approach to patient management. In this comprehensive review, we have pondered upon the need, advantages, barriers and recommendations to achieve ideal ‘Integrated pain and palliative medicine’ services, their equitable implementation and delivery to ‘whomsoever in need of them’.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine