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A Review of Pain Screening Instruments for Medical and Mental Health Providers: Assessment and Coordination of Care of the Pain Patient

by Ann C. Jorn, PhD 5 CE Credits

Treatment of chronic pain conditions has been the focus of many medical organizations since pain was identified as the fifth vital sign by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations in 2001. Yet the assessment and subsequent treatment of pain sufferers still has significant shortcomings. Proper assessment of the patient who suffers from chronic pain is essential for comprehensive and effective treatment. While there is an increase in the number of medical and mental health practitioners trained in pain management, many providers do not understand the ease and utility of gathering initial and ongoing data of psychological and behavioral functioning and the operationalism of findings for treatment planning. Presented is a detailed review of assessment tools for the reliable identification of the patients’ pain experience and its impact on activities of daily living and psychosocial functioning. Assessment results are discussed in terms of treatment coordination between medical and psychological providers.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 5 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction: Definition, Prevalence, and Relevance
  • Barriers to Effective Pain Management
  • The Role of Mental Health Professionals in the Pain Context: A Historical Perspective
  • Understanding the Impact of Sociodemographic Factors in the Etiology and Presentation of Pain
  • Co-morbid Psychological Disorders in Pain Patients
  • Best Practices in Pain Management
  • A Model for Integrated Care: How the Mental Health Practitioner Fits Into the Medical Team
  • Pain Assessment Tools
  • General Administration Instructions
  • Conclusion
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Summarize 5 common patient-based barriers to appropriate and comprehensive pain management.
  • Describe the 4 basic components of a comprehensive pain management plan.
  • Identify the best practices in coordination of care between medical and mental health providers.
  • Recognize the scope of the 9 major, validated and reliable pain and mental health screening instruments.
  • Apply the recommended method of assessment administration given patient characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, age, cognitive functioning, culture).