Disparities with pain killers

Funder:  Michigan Department of Community Health
Partners:  Michigan State University – Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR), Michigan Cancer Consortium
Funding Amount:  $560,000

The Michigan Public Health Institute pioneered population-based data gathering around end-of-life care. Findings in this report indicated a severe problem in managing pain and suffering for patients affected by a terminal illness, including cancer; 40% of caregivers rated patients’ average pain as “excruciating” in the last three months of life. The study also pointed to lack of timeliness in employing hospice and palliative care programs.

This information was shared with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Public Health Strategic Team and Executive Committee. In response, MDCH established a new program to address pain/symptom issues up to and including at the end of life: the Pain Management and Palliative Care Program. Today, this program continues to coordinate patient education about their rights to pain control and addresses barriers to adequate pain treatment through provider education initiatives. These initiatives include a recent effort incorporating pain management education via the Model Core Curriculum on Pain Management for Michigan Medical Schools, to teach about the science and management of pain.

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