Helping Patients Manage Pain
The Acute Pain Management Service (APMS) at the George Washington University Hospital is a consult service that helps patients manage post-operative and post-traumatic pain. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and uses many of the latest techniques to reduce and control your pain during your hospital stay.
The goal of the APMS is to minimize opioid medication. This is achieved by using a multi-modal approach to pain management, which involves a combination of pain relief medications and procedural interventions. Our team works to maximize the benefit of each medication while minimizing unwanted side effects.
Podcast: GW Hospital’s Unique Approach to Pain Management
Marian Sherman, MD, discusses the unique approach GW Hospital takes in addressing both acute pain and chronic pain (lasting more than six months). Dr. Sherman explains various opioid alternatives, such as nerve block injections, ketamine infusions, and a combination of small doses of OTC pain relievers. She also explains the important role that each patient can play in their own pain management plan.
The APMS team consists of attending anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents, nurse practitioners and registered nurses. The team uses its exceptional range of skills, training, experience and knowledge to evaluate each patient’s needs and develop individualized treatment plans.
All inpatients are evaluated daily for pain control. The team adjusts the pain management regimen to enhance recovery, encourage participation in physical therapy and increase the speed with which the patient can go home. As part of these plans, we offer chronic pain consultation and follow-up appointment referrals, as needed, with the GW Spine and Pain Center.
APMS at GW Hospital offers a number of treatment options, including:
- Multimodal medication management—Uses a combination of pain relief medications, each of which act in a different way, to help control pain.
- Patient controlled analgesia (PCA)—Allows patients to independently and safely self-administer pain medication as needed through an intravenous catheter.
- Peripheral nerve blocks—The injection of local anesthetic next to a patient’s nerve in their arms or legs to reduce pain. A small catheter may be placed to continuously infuse local anesthetic. This can be done for inpatients or outpatients.
- Paravertebral block—The injection of local anesthetic near the nerves that exit from the spinal canal. A small catheter may be placed to continuously infuse local anesthetic to the thoracic or lumbar region of the back. This can be done for inpatients or outpatients.
- Patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA)—Allows patients to independently control delivery of pain medication that is administered via a catheter placed in the epidural space.
- Ketamine infusion therapy—An analgesic, administered intravenously in low dosages over a period of several days to manage pain.
- Lidocaine Therapy Infusions—An analgesic, administered intravenously in low dosages over a period of several days to manage pain.
Watch how APMS is using multi-modal approaches at GW Hospital to help breast cancer survivors manage their pain.