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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.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB CE clock hours (Pain Management), and NYSED CE credit.


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).