As a result of increasing waiting lists of patients attending National Cancer Institute of Cairo, we are faced to provide high-quality pain care service through our outpatient pain clinic. The program description presented here shows the capacity of a 24 hours/7 days outpatient cancer pain management service to provide rapidly accessible, high-quality care to patients with complex pain and palliative care symptom burdens. In addition, this model avoids inpatient hospital admissions. Pain clinics of cancer are committed to helping patients and families identify and implement the treatments necessary to achieve optimum functional ability and the best possible quality of life. These clinics also help to communicate and work with the family physician, surgeon, and other physicians associated with patient treatment. Cancer pain is complex in its causes, and affects all parts of the body. It involves the tissues, body systems , and the mind. Being multidimensional, it is never adequately addressed with unidimensional treatment. Pain management must extend beyond physical approaches to include the psychological, social, and even spiritual aspects of the patient. Effective integrated treatment fosters self awareness and teaches appropriate and effective self care. With time, complex issues are managed, pain is reduced, and the patient moves toward peak physical and psychological functioning. These goals can be achieved by providing the highest quality pain management services. Patients attending the clinic get treated medically for their physical ailments. Their emotional and psychological problems also need to be attended with an atmosphere of love and care. The mission of the highest quality service is to obtain customer satisfaction with reduction of cost in a multidisciplinary (or better interdisciplinary) approach. This can be reached by proper identification of the customers either internal or external, assessing their needs, and implementing plans for their satisfaction. In addition, monitoring the improvement of such plans is an integral part of the quality process. Importantly, the facility provides comprehensive care with professionals available 24 hours/7 days. On-call teams assigned to manage pain and other treatment modalities comprises of staff supervised by the primary cancer clinicians; this arrangement facilitates reaching this goal. This study will illustrate our experience through 25 years, trying to provide the highest care of patients with cancer pain on an outpatient basis.
Head of Pain Management Unit, NCI, Cairo University
Reprints: Khaled Abdel Hameed, MD, Professor & Head of Pain Management Unit, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received January 11, 2011
Accepted January 24, 2011