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Simple goal-setting is very important. We must realise that most of these patients will not get total relief from their pain – it is actually quite good to get a 50% reduction – so goals must be realistic and achievable. Medicines are only a small part of the total treatment and patients often need to stop focusing on the pain and learn to live with it.
Ask what the patient thinks they can do to better manage their pain and discuss options for times when the pain is particularly bad.
You may find the videos in the pain toolkit on paintoolkit.org/tools useful.
Write down the agreed goals and management plan and ensure your patient has a copy. Book a follow-up discussion – make it a specific date and time rather than allowing it to be dictated by pain levels.