Cancer pain management and the JCAHO's pain standards: An institutional challenge

Marlene Zichi Cohen, Mary K. Easley, Coni Ellis, Beverly Hughes, Kristin Ownby, Beverly Green Rashad, Mari Rude, Ellen Taft, Joycelyn Bailey Westbrooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Unrelieved pain is a major medical problem. In response to this problem, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) launched new standards for pain management in 1999. A review was conducted in five hospitals of 117 charts of 80 inpatients and 37 outpatients with cancer who had pain documented in their medical records to determine whether application of these JCAHO standards was documented. Pain assessment and management were not documented for most patients. Pain intensity was noted for 57% of outpatients and 53% of inpatients. When pain was documented, treatment was noted in 86% of outpatients' charts and 89% of inpatients' charts. Of those patients with documented pain, reassessment after treatment was reported in 34% of the outpatient charts and 44% of the inpatient charts. Work to properly manage cancer pain needs to continue, and the JCAHO standards provide a mechanism to evaluate practice documentation in order to improve care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-527
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Cancer
  • JCAHO standards
  • Pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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