Based on the CDC’s 2019 National Health Interview Survey, veterans are more likely to experience chronic pain than the general population (31.5% compared to 20.1%). Chronic pain negatively affects residents’ balance, mobility, sleep, mood, social functions, and health-related quality of life. Evidence supports a multidisciplinary approach including restorative therapies, interventional procedures, behavioral health approaches, and complementary and integrative health approaches to managing chronic pain and recommends non-opioid therapy as first-line treatment for chronic pain in most situations. However, there is substantial use of opioids for chronic pain in our Community Living Center (CLC), a post-acute and long-term care facility for veterans. For example, in February 2021, the CLC administered 506 doses of “as-needed” opioids to 21 veterans with chronic pain.
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